Death toll in Syria's war rises as children are now more at risk than ever before.
BEIRUT: Seven years of conflict in Syria have left more than 350,000 people dead, according to an updated overall death toll released Monday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britain-based monitoring group, which relies on an extensive network of sources on the ground across Syria, said 353,935 people have been killed since March 15, 2011.
The conflict, which will enter its eighth year on Thursday, is taking a devastating toll on civilians, including in the ongoing regime assault on the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.
According to the head of Observatory, 106,390 civilians have been killed in seven years.
Children are at more risk
Children are at more risk than ever in Syria’s devastating conflict, the United Nations said Monday as the war approached its eighth year.
Twice as many children were killed in the war in 2017 than in the previous year, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said in a report.
“In 2017, extreme and indiscriminate violence killed the highest ever number of children — 50 percent more than 2016,” it said, adding that 2018 was off to an even worse start.
More than 200 children have been killed in bombardment of the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta by Syrian regime and allied forces since February, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The monitoring group says children account for around a fifth of all civilian victims of the assault. The UN agency quoted a child from southern Syria named Sami, who is now a refugee in Jordan.
“I went outside to play in the snow with my cousins. A bomb hit. I saw my cousin’s hands flying in front of me. I lost both my legs,” he said.
Disabled children “face a very real risk of being neglected and stigmatized as the unrelenting conflict continues,” said UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere.
According to the UN agency, an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to explosive hazards across the war-torn country. Dozens of schools were hit in 2017 alone.