By Fatih Erel
GENEVA (AA) - The conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have taken "a brutal toll" on children, with the fighting in Syria leaving 59 children dead in January alone, according to the UN on Monday.
“In this dark month of January, conflicts and violence in the Middle East and North Africa have once again taken a devastating toll on children.
"They were killed in ongoing conflicts, suicide attacks, or frozen to death as they fled active warzones," The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) regional director for the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere said in a statement on Monday.
In January alone, escalating violence in Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen has claimed the lives of at least 83 children, it said.
In Yemen, 16 children were killed in attacks across the country while a suicide attack took the lives of three children in Benghazi, east of Libya, and three others died while they were playing near an unexploded ordnance.
While a child was killed in a booby-trapped house in the old city of Mosul in Iraq, a boy was shot dead in a village near Ramallah in Palestine.
“Amid a harsh winter storm in Lebanon, 16 refugees, including four children, froze to death as they fled the war in neighbouring Syria. Many more children were hospitalized with frostbite," it said.
“Not hundreds, not thousands but millions more children in the Middle East and North Africa region have their childhood stolen, maimed for life, traumatized, arrested and detained, exploited, prevented from going to school and from getting the most essential health services; denied even the basic right to play."