As with many official reports from Syria, the photographic and video evidence of such information is typically released by sources on social media before official reports are written. In one such video, uploaded by RMC media to YouTube, a toddler in Raqqa screams inconsolably while little gold earrings adorn her disfigured ears. Almost her entire face, back, and arms display horrendous scars that imply her body was once completely engulfed in flames. Perhaps the child was one of the thousands caught in the crosshairs of the raging civil war or maybe she was intentionally targeted by one of the many heinous actors in the Syrian conflict; the latter is now officially as plausible as the former.
The newly released and first of its kind United Nations report assessing the toll of the Syrian conflict on children details widespread horrors committed by Bashar al-Assad’s disgraced regime that targets Syria’s youngest. The damning assessment spans from March 1, 2011 –Nov. 15, 2013 and indicates that at least 10,000 children have been killed at the time of writing and countless others maimed. Particularly horrifying is the new evidence detailing Assad’s juvenile detention centers, which are truly tantamount to torture chambers. The report indicates children as young as eleven years old faced an “unspeakable” reality: some were tied down or suspended from walls by their limbs, their genitals shocked by electrical currents, their toenails and fingernails ripped from their little bodies. Other children were heinously forced to watch their own relatives be tortured while others still were raped and/or sexually assaulted. Further, the sexual violence against children by government forces is reportedly rampant and not limited to detention centers. In one such case discussed, a 14-year old girl from Homs was detained in July 2013 for half a year and repeatedly raped. In other cases, girls were reportedly gang raped – sometimes in front of their family members – at various government checkpoints or during a search of their private residences, which were allegedly occupied by anti-government forces.
The more dire the humanitarian situation becomes and as the most radical rebels continue to emerge with power, the more Assad is being handed an advantageBrooklyn Middleton