UN appeals for release of more than 100 abducted Syrian schoolchildren
On May 29, militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) abducted more than 150 schoolchildren, including some ten girls, as they were on their way back from taking year-end school exams in the northern city of Aleppo in Syria.
The children were heading to the town of Ain al-Arab on buses when they were stopped and kidnapped by ISIL militants in the town of Manbij.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) called for the "immediate and safe return" of the detained children.
"These children have nothing to do with the war raging in Syria. They just wanted to finish their exams and go back to their families," said Maria Calivis, regional director for the Middle East and Northern Africa. "Those who commit such crimes must be held accountable," she added.
Most of the Kurdish regions of northern Syria have been the scene of clashes with the militants for the past months.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. According to some sources, over 160,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by foreign-backed militants.