A United Nations report says that children as young as nine years old have been murdered, beaten, sexually assaulted, and used as human shields by Syrian forces during their year-long conflict. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, says an investigation by her staff shows that not only are children not being spared by the conflict, they are actively being targeted for violence, with witnesses saying that children have been placed on tanks and on troop transports to prevent opposition forces from firing on them. More than 1,200 children are estimated to have killed in the conflict since it began last year.
Others claim that children have been placed in detention and "beaten, blindfolded, subjected to stress positions, whipped with heavy electrical cables, scarred by cigarette burns and in one case subjected to electrical shock during interrogations." The U.N. says there have been "grave violations" by the Syrian government since the very beginning of the uprising in March 2011. In March of this year, a witness reported that children were taken from their homes in the village of Ayn l’Arouz and placed in the windows of buses carrying soldiers as they invaded the town.