Syrian Kurds Demand End to Child Recruitment

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Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Dozens of Kurdish parents and activists protested outside the United Nations offices in Qamishli, Syria, on Sunday against the recruitment of children by local military groups.

The demonstration took place after several teenage girls were reportedly recruited by groups affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led military organization that has been a key U.S. ally in the battle against Islamic State.

In June 2019, the SDF signed a joint action plan with the U.N. to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children under the age of 18 in areas under its control. But the U.N. said since then, at least 160 cases have been documented.

Khaled Jabir, co-chairman of the child protection unit at the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria, confirmed that his office recently received several complaints about child recruitment.

Child recruiting is a big problem, according to Jabir, and local governments reject the practice. According to Jabir, the child protection unit has helped 213 recruited children return to their families since October 2020.

Read the full article published on 29th November 2021 by Voice of America (VOA) here.

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