Syrian Regime Forcibly Recruit Children

At least 156 children are still being recruited by the Syrian Democratic Forces, and 19 children have been kidnapped and recruited since November in the worst recruitment campaign targeting children since the beginning of 2021.

Since the first months of the establishment of the Syrian Democratic Forces, children have been used in forced recruitment, which has gradually expanded in parallel with the strengthening of its security and military grip on the areas it controls in northeastern Syria, and it has resorted to voluntary or forced recruitment of children, and entails enlisting children to join the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces. 

The armed forces try to persuade, encourage, and provide temptations, and schools affiliated with the Autonomous Administration often participate in supporting the recruitment of children.

Recruitment takes place by kidnapping children, whether they are in schools, streets or neighborhoods.

Many residents of the areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (which are military forces whose main focus is the Kurdish Democratic Union Party forces), reported that they had established training camps for recruited children in areas far from their original areas of residence, and in general prevented children from communicating with their families. 

Families were also prevented from visiting their children, subjected to verbal humiliation and expulsion.

Although the Kurdish Autonomous Administration signed a joint action plan with the United Nations in June 2019 to stop the recruitment of children into its forces and release those who were recruited, the People’s Protection Units and Women’s Protection Units signed a deed of commitment with Geneva Call in 2014 to ban the use of children in Wars, recruitment is not over yet.

We stress the need to stop the recruitment of children in military operations, as it robs them of their childhood and innocence, and is in violation of all humanitarian and international norms and laws, and we urge the international community to put pressure on the Syrian government and the opposition alike to stop these abusive measures against children.

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