UNICEF confirmed in a statement issued Friday, February 4, 2022, that at least six children were killed, and one girl was badly injured overnight in the border town of Atmeh in the northwest of Syria due to “heavy violence.”
The overnight raid targeted a building in Atmeh, a densely populated town in northwest Syria near the Turkish border, where tens of thousands of people displaced by the country’s decade-long war live.
Six children were among those killed, as the US Pentagon described the operation as “successful.”
Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said that violence has heavily escalated since the year began in and around Idlib in Syria’s northwest, home to 1.2 million children in need of assistance.
“Many families in the area are internally displaced, having fled violence in other parts of Syria over the years.”
Last year, nearly 70 per cent of grave violations recorded against children in Syria occurred in the northwest, he added.
“This recent increase in violence comes amid freezing weather conditions and record sub-zero temperatures in Syria and the region. At least five Syrian children died in the north of Syria due to harsh winter conditions in the past two weeks alone”.
For his part, the Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq expressed in a press conference in New York, responding to questions at the regular Noon Briefing, deep concern over the reported civilian casualties.
Mr. Haq said the UN continues to call on all the parties to take all the necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law.
“In the case of trying to determine responsibility for the casualties in the attack, it would be important to have an investigation”, he added.