The report quotes a witness to an attack on the village of Ayn l’Arouz in Idlib province on 9 March 2012 in which several dozen boys and girls between the ages of eight and 13 were forcibly taken from their homes and “used by soldiers and militia members as human shields, placing them in front of the windows of buses carrying military personnel into the raid on the village”. The UN said it had collected dozens of witness accounts from children as young as 14 who were tortured in detention, as well as from former members of the Syrian military who were forced to witness or carry out acts of torture, the report says.

Most child victims of torture described being beaten, blindfolded, subjected to stress positions, whipped with heavy electrical cables, scarred by cigarette burns and in one case subjected to electrical shock to the genitals, the report says. One witness reported seeing a boy about 15 years old die as a result of repeated beatings.