Children in Syria are subjected to "appalling" torture, imprisonment and abduction, and these atrocities should be better documented, a report by British charity Save the Children says.
Drawing on the testimony of Syrian refugee children, the charity calls on the United Nations to increase its presence on the ground. It says almost every child it spoke to has seen a family member killed. The report comes at the start of the UN General Assembly's annual meeting. Earlier, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said the situation in Syria was "extremely bad and getting worse". Speaking after he had briefed the Security Council following his first visit to Syria since taking up the post, Mr Brahimi admitted he did not have a full plan on how to bring peace. Although Syria is not formally on the agenda at the UN General Assembly's annual conference, it is expected to dominate discussions. 'Systematic abuse'
Save the Children has documented numerous cases of abuse against children during Syria's 18 month conflict, which was sparked by unrest over the arrest and torture of children in the town of Deraa. The children had written a well-known slogan of the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt on a wall. One 15-year-old told the charity he had cigarettes put out on him when he was imprisoned in what used to be his school. Another described being given electric shocks and sharing a cell with decomposing bodies, while a third teenager, Wael, said he had seen a six-year-old die after being tortured and starved. The 16 year-old told the report's authors: "I watched him die. He only survived for three days and then he simply died." "He was terrified all the time. They treated his body as though he was a dog." Save the Children's report described the acts as "consistent, recurring and appalling". Cat Carter, a spokeswoman
for the charity, said: "The stuff I've heard from children is absolutely appalling. I've heard of children as young as 10 being tortured. I've heard of children, as young as eight, helping to remove dead bodies from rubble, with their own hands." The UK-based charity called on the UN to increase its presence on the ground to document violations so that perpetrators can be brought to account.