34 Syrian Children Killed Since Ceasefire: Report

05/01/2012 10:33 am ET | Updated Jul 01, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, May 1 (Reuters) - More than 34 children have allegedly been killed in Syria since a shaky truce between President Bashar al-Assad's security forces and opposition groups took hold on April 12, the U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict said on Tuesday.

"Since a truce was agreed on April 12 ... and despite the deployment of United Nations ceasefire monitors, more than 34 children have allegedly been killed," special envoy Radhika Coomaraswamy said in a statement.

"I urge all parties in Syria to refrain from indiscriminate tactics resulting in the killing and wounding of children," she said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

According to U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay, the regime has targeted children intentionally.

"They've gone for the children - for whatever purposes - in large numbers. Hundreds detained and tortured...it's just horrendous," Pillay said in a BBC interview.

In February, Human Rights Watch issued a report documenting at least 12 cases of children who were tortured and detained under "inhumane" conditions. In one case, a boy reported being cuffed by his hand to the ceiling of a cell. "They left me hanging there for about seven hours, with about one-and-a-half to two centimeters between me and the floor I was standing on my toes," the boy said.

GlobalPost reported on the case of 13-year-old Hossam, who was allegedly blindfolded and physically assaulted by security forces. The boy described having his big toe nail ripped out with pliers and being beaten. Hossam told GlobalPost of his experience:

"He was shouting at me, 'You want freedom? You want to topple the regime?' And he beat me. They asked me, 'What is your name? What is your father's name? Where are you from? Why did you join the protest?' He showed me a video and said 'Isn’t that you?' I said no and he beat me. 'Isn’t that you?' No. He beat me. 'Isn’t that you?' Yes. He beat me more."

According to opposition groups, more than 11,000 people have been killed since the start of the uprising last March.

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