New York, 15 January 2013 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Leila Zerrougui strongly condemns the high number of child casualties in the intensified fighting in and around Damascus. Information indicates that more than twenty children were killed and others injured in the last days due to airstrikes and other indiscriminate attacks on populated areas. In addition, Ms. Zerrougui is concerned about today’s explosions at the University of Aleppo that claimed the lives of civilians.

“The bloodshed in Syria continues and children pay a very high price in the ongoing fighting. All parties must immediately refrain from targeting civilian areas and take all necessary precautions to protect girls and boys,” Ms. Leila Zerrougui said. The Special Representative also reminds all parties that the disproportionate and indiscriminate killing of children in the course of military operations can amount to war crimes.

Ms. Zerrougui visited the Syrian Arab Republic in mid-December 2012, where she engaged State authorities and the armed opposition to better protect children. During the visit, the Syrian Government committed to cooperate with the United Nations in the monitoring of violations against children. Incidents of killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, recruitment and use of boys, and acts of ill-treatment and torture in detention have been reported since the beginning of the hostilities.

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For the press release on the Special Representative’s visit to Syria please go to:

For further information, please contact:

Muriel Gschwend
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1 917 367 35 62
+1 347 749 52 76