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Syrian forces tortured children, says new Human Rights Watch report

A new report from Human Rights Watch says Syrian forces detained and tortured children, treating them the same as adults.

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A Syrian girl gestures during a protest in the flashpoint city of Homs on February 3, 2012. At least 17 people, two of them children and nine of them government troops, were killed in violence across Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images) (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Human Rights Watch said in a new report today that the Syrian army and security officers have detained and tortured children in the past year, in at least 12 documented cases.

Lois Whitman, the children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, said, “Syrian security forces have killed, arrested, and tortured children in their homes, their schools, or on the streets. In many cases, security forces have targeted children just as they have targeted adults.”

The report alleged that schools have been used as detention centers, military bases and sniper posts, basing its information on interviews with more than a 100 individuals held by Syrian security forces since March 2011, as well as defecting army officers.

“Children, some as young as 13, reported to Human Rights Watch that officers kept them in solitary confinement, severely beat and electrocuted them, burned them with cigarettes, and left them to dangle from metal handcuffs for hours at a time, centimeters above the floor,” the report said.

A 16-year-old boy from Tal Kalakh recounted his harrowing experience of being handcuffed to the ceiling for 7 hours, “While I was hanging there, they beat me for about two hours with cables and shocked me with cattle prods. Then they threw water on the ground and poured water on me from above. They added an electric current, and I felt the shock. I felt like I was going to die. They did this three times. Then I told them, ‘I will confess everything, anything you want.’”

The AFP reported, “the United Nations says hundreds of children have been killed in the crackdown over the past 10 months.”

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Meanwhile, CNN reported that at least 31 people were killed in Syria on Friday, including three children and three defected soldiers, according to opposition activists belonging to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria.

A United Nations Security Council meeting ended on Thursday without agreement on a draft resolution designed to put pressure on Syria to end its violent crackdown against protesters, according to CNN.

More on GlobalPost: Syria: UN diplomats agree to drop call for al Assad to resign

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120203/syrian-forces-tortured-children-says-new-human-rights-watch