Conflict & Justice

11,000 children killed in Syrian conflict, hundreds targeted by snipers, report says


Syrian children wait for food in a park where they live with their families on November 3, 2013, in Istanbul.



A new report from the London-based Oxford Research Group think tank says more than 11,000 children have been killed in the conflict in Syria, with hundreds of them targeted by snipers.

The report, called Stolen Futures — The Hidden Toll of Child Casualties in Syria, looks at data from the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 to as recently as Aug. 2013.

Of the 11,420 killed under the age of 17, 389 lost their lives to sniper fire.

Another 764 children were summarily executed, while more than 100, including infants, were tortured, the groups says in its report.

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Most of the children were killed by bombs or shells in their own neighborhoods, with the highest number of child deaths — 2,223 — occurring in the governorate of Aleppo.

Hana Salama, co-author of the report, said the data provided by Syrian civil society groups recording casualties on how children were being killed is disturbing.

"Bombed in their homes, in their communities, during day-to-day activities such as waiting in bread lines or attending school," she said.

"Shot by bullets in crossfire, targeted by snipers, summarily executed, even gassed and tortured."

The report notes, however, that the figures should be "treated with caution and considered provisional: briefly put, it is too soon to say whether they are too high or too low."

It also only considers the deaths of named victims and where cause of death could be identified, and stresses that figures are incomplete because access is impossible in some areas of Syria.

According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict started and 7.8 million others have been displaced.