11 children killed in Afrin during Turkish operation – UNICEF

Children are being killed across Syria in the ongoing civil war, with 11 killed in the Kurdish-held district of Afrin since the start of the joint Turkish–Free Syrian Army operation in the area, humanitarian aid news portal ReliefWeb reported United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as saying.

“UNICEF received alarming reports of at least 11 children killed and many more injured in ongoing violence in Afrin district, northwest Syria,” the UN agency said.

In Afrin, families are fleeing to other areas within the district, seeking protection in camps already crowded with over 125,000 previously displaced people, living in shockingly difficult conditions and exposed to harsh winter weather. People attempting to flee the area in search of safety, have reportedly been prevented from leaving Afrin. Violence is reported to be so intense that families are confined to the basements of their buildings. The majority of shops are closed and UNICEF-supported child protection services, including a child-friendly space and psychosocial support activities, had to be suspended.

UNICEF reminded all parties to the Syrian civil war that they should abide by international law.

“Wars have laws and these laws are being broken every single day in Syria. Once again, UNICEF reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligations to protect children at all times,” it said.

Turkey launched an operation last week against Afrin to clear the area of what it calls terrorists.