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UNICEF ‘shocked, saddened’ after 8 children killed in northern Syria

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it was “shocked and saddened” by the deaths of at least eight children in northern Syria on Monday.

“We are shocked and saddened at reports that eight children were killed and another eight were injured in attacks on Tal Rifaat town, northern Aleppo. All of them were under the age of 15,” UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa,Ted Chaiban, said in a statement.

“This brings the number of children killed in the north of Syria to at least 34 in the past four weeks alone,” he added.

On Monday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that at least 11 Kurdish civilians were killed in a Turkish artillery attack in Aleppo province—eight of them were children.

The artillery shelling reportedly struck a school building, killing 11 and wounding 21 others.

Local aid organization, the Kurdish Red Crescent, however, said at least 10 civilians were killed, including seven children, according to Kurdistan 24.

Around 170,000 displaced Kurds from Afrin are currently living in Tal Rifaat and its surrounding areas, with limited support. They were displaced to Tal Rifaat following Turkey’s attack on the Afrin region, which led to its occupation in March 2018.

Turkey launched another military incursion into northern Syria in early October against Syrian Kurdish forces. Since then, hundreds of people have been killed, mainly innocent civilians, and thousands of others have been displaced.

“UNICEF reminds all parties to the conflict in Syria that children must always be protected, they are not a target and those who kill children deliberately will be held accountable,” Chaiban warned.