A new United Nations report says the Syrian military and pro-government militias have tortured children and used them as human shields, AFP reported Tuesday (June 12th).
Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN special representative for children in armed conflict, said Syrian children as young as nine were victims of arbitrary arrest, torture, sexual violence, maiming and killing.
The UN report stated that Syrian forces rounded up dozens of boys aged eight to 13 prior to a March 9th attack on Ain al-Arouz in Idlib province.
Children were "used by soldiers and militia members as human shields, placing them in front of the windows of buses carrying military personnel into the raid on the village", the report said.
The report does not include information about the May 25th Houla massacre. Forty-nine of the 108 victims were said to be children, some as young as two and three. Many of the victims were shot in the head or beaten to death.
Human rights groups estimate that 1,200 children have died since protests began in Syria in March 2011.