SYRIA – More than 11,000 children have been killed in the nearly three-year civil war in Syria, including young boys and girls who were tortured and executed, according to a report from a London-based think tank.
The Oxford Research Group said that most of the 11,420 children reported dead were killed in explosions, and many others were shot to death.
“What is most disturbing about the findings of this report is not only the sheer numbers of children killed in this conflict, but the way they are being killed,” co-author Hana Salama said in a statement.
More than 1,000 children were either summarily executed (764) or killed by snipers (389), the report found. Some 112 children, even infants, were tortured before being killed.
And what’s worse, deaths of children are “mounting,” the report said.
Both Syrian troops and rebel groups have been blamed for targeting civilians.
“The world needs to take a much closer interest in the effects of the conflict on Syria’s children,” Salama said.
The report authors called for the warring sides to stop using explosives in places where children live and play.
The Oxford Research Group said Aleppo Governorate was the site of the most child deaths, with 2,223.
The statistics are taken from the casualty lists of Syrian organizations from March 2011 to August 2013 and include only named victims.
In June, the United Nations said at least 6,500 children had been killed since the start of the war.
“There are … well-documented cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said at the time.
The overall death toll topped 100,000 in late July, the U.N. announced.
The U.N. says that more than 2.1 million people have fled Syria, which has about 22.5 million residents.