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UNICEF: 500 children died in Syrian war

March 23, 2012 at 1:08 PM   |   Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 23 (UPI) -- At least 500 children were killed in Syria in fighting between pro-government and rebel forces, UNICEF said Friday.

The U.N. Human Rights Council extended a mandate of the commission of inquiry for Syria and called on Damascus to put an end to the violence. The council stated that it "demands" Syria uphold its obligation to protect the civilian population in the country.

UNICEF, in a statement Friday, said "at least" 500 Syrian children were killed during the yearlong crisis in Syria.

"There can be little doubt that the vast majority of Syria's children will be scarred by this crisis -- whether physically or psychologically," said UNICEF Regional Director Maria Calivis from Geneva.

Syria blames domestic terrorists for much of the violence. In a Friday report, the official Syrian Arab News Agency claims CNN journalists Arwa Damon, Tim Crockett and Neil Hallsworth "seemed to have coordinated" with saboteurs who bombed an oil pipeline in the restive region of Homs after entering the country illegally.

Meanwhile, members of the European Union imposed sanctions on oil companies and 12 individuals in Syria, including the wife and other family members of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"This is a further step in tightening the economic and diplomatic stranglehold on this criminal regime," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement. "The message to those who continue to side with Assad is clear -- the violence must end and those responsible will be held to account."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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