United Nation's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the Syrian conflict has deteriorated "beyond all imagination" this year.
On Tuesday, British officials were trying to confirm reports that a London surgeon died in Syrian detention. More than 200 Syrians have also reportedly died this week, among them 28 children.
Now reports are surfacing that al Qaeda rebels in the Syrian opposition are using children to carry out attacks.
The United Nations is calling for a ceasefire in Syria. Will that actually happen? Dr. Walid Phares, author and Middle East expert, answers this and more on CBN Newswatch, Dec. 17.
The music on a recently released video is chilling and so is the strategy. The soundtrack -- a sad melody in Arabic -- tells the children's mothers not to be saddened because they're fighting "for the sake of defeating the Jews."
The Washington Post reports that al Qaeda rebels in Syria are training children as young as 10 for military missions, including suicide bombings.
Human rights groups say secularist rebels and government militias are also using child soldiers in Syria.
The child recruitment is another reason why the U.N. secretary-general is demanding a cease-fire before talks begin next month.
"We must have [a] cessation of hostilities before we begin political dialogue on Syria in Geneva," Ban said.
Both the United States and Russia have helped to broker the talks.
"We are committed to trying to bring people together, a strong representation of the opposition, together with the Assad regime representatives and with maybe 30 or so other countries, and all try to work in the same direction, which is to get a political settlement out of Syria," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Ban is hoping a cease-fire would pave the way for a political solution to the two-and-a-half year civil war. But in recent weeks, violence has surged as the warring sides try to hold onto or claim new territory as a possible negotiating strategy.
One sign of progress: the authorization Tuesday of a plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons. At The Hague in the Netherlands, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons approved the details.
The already publicized plan includes help from Denmark and Norway, with the final destruction taking place on a U.S. ship. Mid-2014 is the deadline.