A United Nations senior official today expressed serious concern over the killing and maiming of children in Syria, particularly by Government forces.
“Too many children have been killed already,” the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, said in a news statement.
Over the past few days, according to the statement, Syrian Government jets intensified airstrikes on residential areas, particularly in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, killing and injuring dozens of civilians. In one such attack on Maaret al-Numan village, two residential buildings and a mosque, where women and children were taking refuge, were destroyed, reportedly killing more than 20 children.
“I call upon all parties to the conflict in Syria to refrain from acts against the civilian population, including children, and to respect today’s call of the Secretary-General and the Arab League for a ceasefire, if not for the sake of Syrian children,” she said.
Earlier today, the Secretaries-General of the UN and the League of Arab States – Ban Ki-moon and Nabil El Araby – called on all warring parties in Syria to heed the call of their Joint Special Representative for the crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, for a ceasefire in all its forms during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, and called on international actors to support this appeal.
Ms. Zerrougui echoed their calls, appealing to all parties to stop the violence to ensure the well-being Syrian children.
Taking place on Friday, 26 October, the religious observance of Eid al-Adha – or the Feast of the Sacrifice – commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God.
More than 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in Syria since the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began some 20 months ago. A further 2.5 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian aid and more than 340,000 have fled to neighbouring countries according to UN estimates.