More children were killed in Syria during 2017 than during any other year in the ongoing civil war.

That "one stark fact" was highlighted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as he addressed the UN Security Council on Monday, adding that he was "deeply saddened" at the "immense loss and cascading suffering" of the Syrian people and "deeply disappointed by all those who have, year after year, by action or inaction, by design or indifference, allowed this to happen".

"Syria is bleeding inside and out," he said. 

According to UNICEF, 50 per cent more children were killed in Syria in 2017 than in 2016. In the first two months of 2018 alone, more than 1,000 more children were reportedly killed or injured. The organisation says conflict is now the leading cause of death among adolescents in the country.

Other UN data reveals that as the war enters its eighth year this week, the conflict has resulted in more than 5.6 million refugees and 6.1 million internally displaced people while more than 13 million people inside the country requiring humanitarian assistance - a figure which includes nearly six million children.

Mr Guterres reported to the Security Council on Monday that, despite their demand to institute a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, airstrikes, shelling and ground offensives have intensified in Eastern Ghouta with some reports saying that more than 1,000 people have been killed there in recent weeks.

“On Thursday, this conflict will enter its eighth year," he said in published remarks. "I refuse to lose my hope to see Syria rising from the ashes. To see a united, democratic Syria able to avoid fragmentation and sectarianism with its sovereignty and territorial integrity respected and to see a Syrian people able to freely decide their future and choose their political leadership.”

Mr Guterres again appealed for all parties to fully implement the UN Security Council's demand for a ceasefire throughout Syria.