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Children are being massacred in Syria, as toll soars Open in fullscreen

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Children are being massacred in Syria, as toll soars

More than 200 children have been killed in heavy bombardments of Eastern Ghouta. [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 March, 2018

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Twice as many children were killed in Syria's war in 2017 than in the previous year

Twice as many children were killed in Syria's war in 2017 than in the previous year, the UN children's agency said on Monday as the devastating conflict approaches its eighth year.

"In 2017, extreme and indiscriminate violence killed the highest ever number of children - 50 per cent more than 2016," it said, adding that 2018 was off to an even worse start.

More than 200 children have been killed in heavy bombardments 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.

Eastern Ghouta is home to around 400,000 people living under a crippling regime siege since 2013

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 stigmatised 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.

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