11,420 Children Killed in Syrian Conflict – new report reveals
A report released by Oxford Research Group on Nov. 24, reveals that over 11,400 children have been killed as a direct result of the conflict in Syria since it began in March 2011. The chilling statistics compiled show how boys and girls from all ages, from 17 years old to infants, have been killed, including from bombing, shelling, direct sniper attacks, cross-fire, gassing, summary execution, and torture.
The report, “ Stolen Futures: The hidden toll of casualties in Syria ,” compiles figures from four databases of casualties published by Syrian civil society groups which contain detailed records of the identities of individuals killed, including the names, ages, gender, and circumstances of death, including the location, time, and where possible, the weapon used.
According to the report, over 70% of all child deaths have been caused by explosive weapons, such as air-dropped bombs, large unguided rockets, artillery fire, tank fire, and shelling. The data sheds light on the true extent of the suffering of children from the use of explosive weapons and the devastating scale of the impacts of these weapons in populated areas.
Beyond the direct deaths and horrible injuries inflicted on children, the report shows how explosive weapons have destroyed homes, schools, playgrounds, and entire neighborhoods across Syria, leaving children nowhere to feel safe. As well as preventing access to healthcare and education, the damage and destruction caused by explosive weapons is inflicting severe psychological trauma on children. The displacement of hundreds of thousands of children and their families, ripped from their communities, is also adding to the already extreme vulnerability of children to the effects of the conflict. These impacts and others documented in the report show how the conflict in Syria is in effect “a war on childhood,” according to the BBC’s Lyse Doucet.
The report reinforces the urgent need to end the violence in Syria, as well as the immediate cessation of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. In her most recent report, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict stressed that the use of explosive weapons in Syria was causing “a pattern of harm affecting children and their families” and reiterated the call for an end to the use of explosive weapons with wide area impacts in populated areas. This appeal echoes numerous statements previously from high-level UN officials, including the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, and the ICRC, along with a growing number of governments.
As a member of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), the civil society network of NGOs seeking to bring about a stop to the use of explosive weapons with wide area impacts in populated areas, Norwegian People’s Aid is extremely concerned by the data published in this report on the impacts of explosive weapons on children in Syria. Discussions continue to build within INEW and representatives from governments, militaries, and international organizations on ways forward to strengthen international rules and standards around the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and increase protection of civilians. A high-level meeting on this issue hosted by the ICRC has been announced, set to take place in late 2014 or early 2015.
NPA is also a member of the Every Casualty Campaign, a coalition of civil society organizations established in 2012, which advocates for the recognition and recording of casualties of armed violence and that each and every death is promptly recorded, correctly identified, and publicly acknowledged.