Seven parties to conflict are each currently listed for at least one grave violation in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) 2020 annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC). In March, the Council will receive monthly briefings on the humanitarian situation, political process, and use of chemical weapons in Syria, respectively. March 15 will mark 10 years since the start of the armed conflict. One in three Syrian schools have been destroyed, damaged, or are currently being used for military purposes, and 52 attacks on education facilities and personnel were confirmed last year. According to UNICEF, at least 22 children were reportedly killed in January. In February, a group of UN human rights experts called on countries to urgently repatriate their nationals from Al-Hol and Roj camps, expressing serious concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and increased violence in the camps. The Security Council should:

  • Urgently work to identify solutions to restore access lost through closed UN border crossing points and renew SCR 2533 (2020) to re-authorize Syria’s cross-border mechanism to facilitate pandemic response and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to children and other civilians in need;
  • Call on all parties to immediately cease attacks or threats against schools, hospitals, and their personnel; and urge the Government to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration and to ensure that attacks on these institutions and their personnel are investigated and those responsible duly prosecuted;
  • Call on countries to safely repatriate their child nationals and their families, following individual rights-based needs assessments, for the purpose of reintegration, as appropriate, in line with international law and standards, prioritizing the child’s best interests, and prevent children from becoming stateless;
  • Urge all listed parties, including Government forces, to develop and sign action plans to end and prevent violations against children, and call on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to continue to promptly and fully implement their action plan.

Norway and Ireland are the lead countries on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – March 2021.

UN Action

Year listed: 2012
Action Plans signedSyrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – recruitment and use of children (June 2019)
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Syria: 2018; 2014
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Syria: 20192014

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
 Government forces, including the National Defence Forces and pro-government militias* a,b,d a,b,c,d b,d,c b,c,d b,c,d a,b,c,d
Free Syrian Army (FSA) – affiliated groups* a a a a a
Ahrar al-Sham a,b a,b a,b a,b
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) a,b a,b,c,d a,b,c,d a,b,c,d,e
Nursah Front (also known as Jabhat Fath al-Sham) a,b a,b a,b a,b
People’s Protection Units (YPG) a a a a
Army of Islam a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.