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Save the Children warns of child torture in Syria

International child welfare group says children are targets in Syria war.

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One-year-old Manal at Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan. She's one of thousands of children who have fled across Syria's border to escape an increasingly brutal conflict. (Jonathan Hymes/Courtesy)

Children in Syria are among the hardest hit by that country’s escalating civil war, often the targets of torture, Save the Children said Tuesday.

The youngest Syrians will need special care after witnessing killing and other atrocities, the child welfare group said in the shadow of the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York City.

“Horrific acts of violence are being committed against children in Syria,” Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles said, according to a press release.

Miles said Save the Children has gathered mounting evidence that shows young people are under attack, face torture and are scarred from watching parents and loved ones die around them.

Save the Children has issued an appeal for funding as it works along the Syrian border.

In a report released today, it called upon the United Nations to increase its presence in Syria so it could document the crimes.

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An estimated 27,000 people have died in the 18-month conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces.

“Their testimonies should also be documented so that these violent acts against children are not committed with impunity,” Miles said.

Save the Children’s report includes stories from children who said their parents blame government troops for the government violence, Reuters reported.

One child who fled to a refugee camp told Save the Children about a six-year-old boy held hostage to force his father into surrendering.

“He wasn’t given food or water for three days, and he was so weak he used to faint all the time,” 16-year-old Wael says in the report, according to Reuters.

“He was beaten regularly. I watched him die. He only survived for three days and then he simply died.”

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120925/save-the-children-warns-child-torture-syria