In a week marked by the brutal on-camera murder of a 12-year-old boy in Aleppo and the killing of more than 20 children killed during air strikes in Manbij, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for an immediate end to all forms of violence against children in Syria and urged all parties to the conflict there to make every effort to avoid the loss of civilian lives.
The agency estimates that 35,000 children are trapped in and around Manbij, in eastern rural area of Aleppo Governorate, with nowhere safe to go. Furthermore, since the intensification of fighting in the last six weeks, about 2,300 people, including dozens of children are reported to have been killed.
“Absolutely nothing justifies attacks on children,” said Hanna Singer, UNICEF representative in Syria, in a statement issued yesterday. “No matter where they are or under whose control they live,” she stressed.
This week alone, more than 20 children were reportedly killed in air strikes in Manbij, and a 12-year-old boy was brutally murdered on camera in Aleppo.
According to information received by the agency, families in the al-Tukhar village near Manbij, some 80 kilometres to the east of Aleppo, were preparing to flee when the air strikes hit.
In her statement, the UNICEF representative also underscored that such horrific incidents are a reminder that it is the responsibility of conflicting parties to respect international humanitarian laws that protect children in war.
“We deplore all forms of violence and urge all parties to the conflict to make every effort to avoid the loss of civilian lives,” expressed Ms. Singer.
“All forms of violence against children must immediately come to an end.”
Hundreds of thousands of civilians are feared to be trapped in Aleppo, Manbij and other Syrian towns as fighting between Government and opposition forces continues around them. Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein voiced serious concern for their safety and urged the conflicting parties to ensure that no harm comes to them.