According to a U.N. report released Tuesday, Syrian regime forces and their allied “shabbiha” militias have tortured children, executed them and used children as young as eight as “human shields” during military raids against rebels.
The U.N.'s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict said that some children said they had been forced to ride on tanks to stop attacks by rebels fighters.
Human rights groups estimate that about 1,200 children have died during the 15-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and his bloody regime.
Meanwhile, the United States has predicted that a new massacre will occur in Syria.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that "...the United States joinsto express concern over information coming from Syria over the preparation by the regime to carry out another massacres in Haffe, in Latakia province, as well as in the towns Deir el-Zour, in Daraa, in Homs, in Hama, and in suburbs of Damascus. We want to remind the Syrian officers one of the lessons learned in Bosnia: the international community can find out which units are responsible for crimes against humanity and will hold you accountable for your actions."
Earlier, the envoy of the U.N. and Arab League Kofi Annan expressed "serious concerns" following the death of scores of people in the past two days. Annan "is particularly concerned about the recent bombings in Homs as well as reports of the use of mortars, tanks and helicopters in the town of Haffe in the coastal Latakia province," said his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi in a statement. "There are indications that large numbers of civilians are trapped in these cities," the Associated Press reported.
For his part, the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded on Monday that the U.N.get access to Haffe and was concerned about what he calls a "dangerous intensification" of the conflict in Syria.
According to activists, Haffe was bombarded for six days by regime forces. The situation is "terrible and army tanks are at the gates of the city," said Sima Nassar, an activist. "There is only one doctor who treated the wounded in the city," she said. The town was deserted by the majority of its 30,000 inhabitants. "There is still some rebels and armed civilians who help defend the city, " she conveyed.
The Observatory and another activist coalition, the Local Coordination Committees, also reported that Syrian troops with helicopter gunships attacked Rastan, a rebel-held town in Homs province, and shelled other restive areas across the nation.
Syrian opposition sources claimed more than 100 people were killed in violence across Syria on Monday. The figures cannot be verified via independent sources.