UN envoy in Syria as child toll mounts
UN’s special envoy on Children in War was in Syria for talks on Monday as concern mounts over the rising child death toll in the bloody two-year conflict. Six children were among 29 people killed in a devastating army bombardment of five villages in the northwest as residents prepared to break the daytime fast observed during the holy month of Ramzan, a watchdog reported on Monday. As US and Russia-backed efforts to convene a peace conference have faltered, regime forces have launched counter-attacks against the rebels in the northwest, in the centre and around the capital.
Leila Zerrougui, the UN secretary general’s special representative on children and armed conflict, will spend three days in Syria, the UN said. She will meet govt officials, UN representatives and NGOs as part of a tour that will also take her to neighbouring Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, which are hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog, more than 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011, more than 5,000 of them children under the age of 16. The deadliest of Sunday’s air and artillery bombardments of villages in the northwestern province of Idlib struck Maghara, where 13 people were killed, the Observatory said.