Missile strike kills at least 12 civilians, including children, in Syria’s Idlib: UN humanitarians

IRIN/Jodi Hilton Displaced Syrians cook a meal on an open fire at Qah Camp, close to the Turkish border. (file)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Violence in Syria continues to kill and maim civilians with reports that missiles fired into settlements for people fleeing conflict in the country’s northwest on Wednesday night, killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens more, including children, UN humanitarians said on Thursday.

“Reports of shelling near the Qah IDP camp near the Turkish border in Idlib last night caused damage to a nearby maternity hospital”, Fran Equiza, UNICEF Syria Representative for Syria, told journalists in Geneva. “Children were also among the reported casualties; nearby IDP camps were also destroyed.”

In condemning the attack, Najat Rochdi,  the Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, pointed out that it occured as the world was marking the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“And yet, Syrian children’s basic rights to life and protection are not met,” she stated.

Mark Cutts, UN Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, called for an investigation into the “horrific” incident.

“I find it sickening that missiles hit vulnerable civilians, including elderly people, women and children sheltering in tents and makeshift shelters in a camp for internally displaced people,” he said.

In a statement, the official from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also condemned the fact that there had been “dozens of attacks against medical facilities and staff across Syria” this year.

“International humanitarian law requires all parties to strictly distinguish between civilians and combatants and to take constant care to spare civilians in the conduct of military operations,” he insisted.

Youngsters killed in northeast Syria too

In northeast Syria since 9 October, following the Turkish military incursion into Kurdish-held Syrian territory, at least 10 children have died and another 28 have been maimed, UNICEF’s Mr. Equiza said.

This toll doesn’t include three more children injured on Wednesday, when a shell hit a school in the southern town of Tal Abyad, that was housing 12 internally-displaced families.

In 2018, the UN confirmed that 1,106 children were killed in fighting linked to the nearly nine-year war. That was the highest number of children killed in a single year since the start of the war in 2012, according to UNICEF, which noted that the actual figure is likely much higher – a trend that has continued this year.

The agency noted too that as of September, the UN has verified 1,792 grave violations against children’s rights this year alone. This includes killing, injuring, recruiting and abducting children and attacks against schools and health facilities.

This year on course to match deadly 2018 toll

“Last year was the deadliest for year for the children in Syria and very unfortunately it looks that this year is following the same track record,” Mr. Equiza said. “So far, 657 children have been killed in Syria.”

In the troubled northeast of Syria, around 74,000 people – including an estimated 31,000 children – remain displaced. More than 15,000 people have fled to neighbouring Iraq.

Turning to the Al Hol camp complex, which houses people displaced from former ISIL-held territory, the UNICEF official said that it contained “around 40,000 children”. Of that number, 28,000 were foreigners, comprising 20,000 from Iraq and 8,000 “from around 60 different nationalities”, while around 80 per cent of the children there are below 12 and 15 per cent are below five years old.

Nine-year-olds ‘held in detention centres’

Elsewhere in the northeast, the UN agency has received reports that “at least 250 children” – some as young as nine – are being held in detention centres.

They “are spread around the northeast and we don’t have the coordinates sadly of where these centres are”, Mr. Equiza said.

In an appeal for the international community to repatriate the children of citizens who had gone to Syria, Mr. Equiza insisted that keeping them in Syria was only doing additional harm.

“So far, we know that 17 countries have repatriated at least 650 children over the last months and we expect that the figure will go up in the coming days. Every day is too late for not taking those kids out of the camp.”

Across Syria, people face massive vulnerabilities, UNICEF says, with limited services, damaged schools and infrastructure presenting “an almost insurmountable hurdle for children and their families”.

While the northeast is home to some of the most vulnerable children in the country, with one in five affected by stunting in Deir-ez-Zor and Al-Hasakeh governorates, the national average is one in eight.

With just six weeks left to go in the year, UNICEF’s emergency operations in Syria are about 60 per cent funded. Of the $295 million required in 2019, the agency has received around $180 million.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

These social entrepreneurs are lighting up Africa

More than half of world’s refugee children ‘do not get an education’, warns UNHCR

How responsible businesses can step forward to fight coronavirus

“Sorry mom it’s not our day”: the true refugee story of a young doctor and his family forced to flee their home

Here’s how to find a job you really love

UN agency plan tackles ‘hidden cost’ of gold, paves way for safer, mercury-free mining

Love Affair with Some(one)/(thing)

Civil society groups matter for Cambodia’s sustainable development: UN expert

To what extent are our moral standards responsible for killing people?

Smokers who quit one month before surgery reap benefits: UN health agency

Here’s how we reboot digital trade for the 21st century

The West cannot ignore Russia; dazed Germany sitting on the fence

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Direction Wakanda: finance methods to make Africa a superhero continent

Venezuela: Parliament recognises Guaidó, urges EU to follow suit

Team Europe increased Official Development Assistance to €66.8 billion as the world’s leading donor in 2020

We need to rethink neuroscience. And you can help us

Four in 10 indigenous languages at risk of disappearing, warn UN human rights experts

Congrats to the #FutureofMalta: a new age of voting

Eurozone: Avoiding a new Greek accident

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

Here are 10 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspirational quotes

Civilians ‘must never be a target,’ says UN in Afghanistan, amid troubling number of casualties during Ramadan

China will be the world’s top tourist destination by 2030

More than 90 per cent of Africa migrants would make perilous Europe journey again, despite the risks

Eurozone: Austerity brings new political tremors

Sahel States need international support ‘now more than ever’– UN peacekeeping chief

What universities can learn about citizenship in the COVID-19 pandemic

UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health

MEPs hail minimum global corporate tax rate deal as historic

The Future of Retail: Changing shopping patterns will mean retailers need to invest in costly and complex solutions

On technology and medical ethics

Why the future for cars is connected

5 myths about face masks under the microscope

Medical students against male supremacy

Mali: Two peacekeepers dead after dawn attack, several injured – UN Mission

A Sting Exclusive: “Sustainable development goals: what role for business?” Commissioner Mimica asks live from European Business Summit 2015

Medical ethics in the age of the social media influencers

Empowering people living with HIV ‘will end the epidemic’, says AIDS agency chief

5 things we get wrong about young people, according to a US study

Europe votes against GMOs but the Council votes for TTIP

Five ways individuals can help save the oceans

Scientists have a new suggestion to create more climate-friendly cows

IMF: When high yield goes boom

It’s time to build a responsible media supply chain

Europe eyes to replace US as China’s prime foreign partner

Myanmar: Departing UN rights expert still hopeful for democratic transition

European Labour Authority ready to start working in October as decision is taken on new seat

‘The best-selling brand today is fear’: UN chief highlights urgent need to address global ‘deficit of trust’

FROM THE FIELD: Going the extra mile with vaccines

EU-US Privacy Shield data exchange deal: US must comply by 1 September, say MEPs

These are the UK’s biggest trading partners

How technology can help us achieve universal healthcare

Conflict of interest and misuse of EU funds: The case of Czech PM Babiš

Towards a stronger and more resilient Schengen area

4 principles for securing the digital identity ecosystem

7 ways business can be agents for peace

EU budget 2022: Speeding up Europe’s recovery and progressing towards a green, digital and resilient future

SDGs and the historical and economic impact on Brazilian health

Rich economies not a promise of education equality, new report finds

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s