Why Sarin isn’t the biggest concern for Syrian children

Dr. Zaher Sahloul writes: Though Syrian children are being killed by snipers and shells and increasingly succumb to malnutrition, polio, waterborne diseases and bitter cold, our policymakers are acting as if chemical weapons were the main cause of mayhem and death to Syrian children.

It may come as a surprise to those of us following the Syrian crisis that a recent report by Oxford Research Group, entitled “Stolen Futures: The Hidden Toll of Child Casualties in Syria,” documented the killing of 11,420 Syrian children from the start of the conflict until August 2013, not by chemical agents, but by old-style and new conventional weapons. The report’s findings include:

• 71 percent of children were killed by explosive weapons.

• 26.5 percent of children died from bullets.

• 764 children as young as one year old were summarily executed.

• 389 were killed by sniper fire.

According to the U.S. estimates, 426 children were gassed to death by Sarin on Aug. 21 in the Ghouta chemical attack, which means that only 3.5 percent of Syrian children were killed by chemical weapons, while the vast majority (96.5 percent) were killed by conventional methods. [Continue reading…]

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