U.N. report: Syrian military, rebel fighters recruiting thousands of kids to fight

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The United Nations says children are being recruited to fight for both Syrian government forces and rebel fighters, and that thousands have been killed in recent months.

The report came on the heels of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to the country in December, Reuters reported.

Thousands of youth have been killed, and “thousands more have seen family members killed or injured,” the report said, Reuters quoted. The devastations to the youth have been seen in more areas than just Syria, however. The United Nations finds that children have been raped and maimed by government forces and resistance fighters in Afghanistan, Chad, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.

The United Nations‘ report covers anyone under the age of 18, Reuters said.

But the treatment of children in Syria is a particularly worrisome trend, the United Nations said.

“Child detainees, largely boys and as young as 14 years old, suffered similar or identical methods of tortures as adults, including electric shock, beatings, stress positions and threats, and acts of sexual torture,” the U.N. report said.

Meanwhile, Free Syrian Army forces were accused in the U.N. report of forcing children between the ages of 15 and 17 into combat, Reuters said.

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