The United Nations says over three million children in Syria suffer from direful consequences of the crisis that has gripped the country for over two years.

“This emergency is a children’s crisis, ” Special Representative of the Secretary - General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui told the UN Security Council on Wednesday. Attacks on hospitals and schools risk children’s lives and jeopardize their access to education and medical assistance, Zerrougui added. According to the UN official, young children are recruited and used by the foreign - backed armed groups for military purposes.

Zerrougui further called on the UN to work out an effective solution to end impunity for perpetrators of “grave violence” against children in Syria.

On April 9, the international children charity organization, Save the Children, warned that children in Syria had been under direct harm, being recruited by the foreign - backed militant groups in the country. Last month, the US - based organization also said that kids in Syria were being shot at, tortured, and raped. Under - Secretary - General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos has said that 6.8 million people out of a 20.8 million population need humanitarian assistance in Syria. In addition, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says the number of Syrian refugees could exceed 3.5 million by the end of 2013. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil that began in Syria in March 2011. Damascus has repeatedly called for dialogue to end the violence.