Last updated: 2 December, 2011

UN: Syrian forces killed 56 children in November

Syrian state forces killed 56 children in November in the “deadliest month” since the start of the March crackdown on dissidents, a UN-appointed investigator said Friday.

“According to reliable sources, to date, 307 children were killed by state forces. November was the deadliest month so far with 56 children killed,” the chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro, told a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The panel spoke to 223 victims, witnesses and defectors from the Syrian military from September to November after being tasked by the Human Rights Council, though it was not granted access to the country.

Pinheiro said they had gathered a solid body of evidence showing children were among the victims of murder and torture carried out by state forces following orders from the top of the President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The report prompted a call by members of the Human Rights Council for a special session on Syria, the third this year.

The UN estimates that 4,000 people have been killed in the bloody repression since March, with High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warning that the country was on the brink of civil war.

“The extreme suffering of the population inside and outside Syria must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” Pinheiro said.