Human rights organization: PKK forcibly recruits children

Fighters for the YPG, the Syrian arm of the PKK. (archive photo)

by Nabi Yucel

Reports that the terrorist organization PKK, its armed Syrian sister organization YPG and the Pentagon-formed SDF are recruiting child soldiers, arresting civilians and murdering opposition figures continue unabated.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirms almost daily cases from the region where the “Syrian-Kurdish forces” exercise control.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights, abbreviated SNHR, has been in existence since 2011. For over seven years, this UK-based independent observatory has also reported crimes committed by Syrian Kurdish forces taking place and being able to be reported in the civil war region. According to the SNHR, the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. Nevertheless, the interest in massive human rights violations by the Syrian-Kurdish forces in the US or Europe is almost minimal.

SNHR has made a name for itself over the years and established itself in the global human rights organisations. Since July 26, SNHR has also officially worked with the renowned Amnesty International AI to collect data on human rights violations in Syria.

AI itself has a vital interest in uncovering and listing human rights violations in Syria. Her attention is also directed at the non-state actors in the civil war country. Above all, the terrorist organization PKK, its armed Syrian sister organization YPG and the Syrian Democratic Forces SDF, formed from it by the Pentagon in 2015, stand out when it comes to human rights violations.

The reports are not new, the last annual reports of the human rights organizations AI and Human Rights Watch HRW over the last decade show that the accusations against the nationalist-Kurdish forces in northern Syria are by no means just a marginal phenomenon.

There is now talk of systematic action against civilians, members of the opposition or Christian minorities. They continue to forcibly recruit child soldiers, leading the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General to condemn the actions of the “Syrian Kurdish forces” in his 2015 annual report on children and armed conflict and call for an immediate end.

Apparently, the ranks of the PKK, YPG, SDF or the political arm PYD are in no way willing to take the reports seriously, let alone stop the incidents. The events are always rejected consistently. Almost daily, SNHR reports on the forced recruitment of children and young people who are caught on their way home or playing and taken to training camps. There they are trained in the use of weapons, encouraged with simple promises to fight.

The reports from SNHR in a few days about children and young people therefore read as follows:

July 20 – Syrian Democratic Forces SDF arrest ten civilians, including a child, at an SDF checkpoint in the city of Raqqa and take them to an unknown training camp. On the same day, according to another report, a 22-year-old man was arrested against his will at a checkpoint in the town of Tal Tamr, northwest of Hasaka Governorate, and taken to a training camp.

July 22 – A 16-year-old boy from the al Mashlab neighborhood of Raqqa city is arrested by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces after passing a checkpoint in the neighborhood and taken to a training camp in the Raqqa governorate.

July 23 – A 16-year-old boy from the town of al Shaheil in eastern Deir Ez-Zour governorate is detained by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces as he passes through a checkpoint in the town. He is taken to training camp.

In addition to the forced recruitment of children and young people, human rights organizations accuse the Syrian-Kurdish forces of ethnic cleansing, kidnapping notables from religious minorities – including Christian minorities, persecution of the opposition, murder and manslaughter.

The SNHR reports of just a few days about the kidnapping and murder read as follows:

July 11 – A 32-year-old teacher and her 38-year-old brother from Hasiya village in Ma’batli district in the northern suburbs of Aleppo governorate are arrested by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and taken to an unknown location. The family is not informed, and the arrested are not allowed to contact their family members. In 85 percent of such cases, the SNHR speaks of torture and subsequent enforced disappearance.

July 15 – A 23-year-old man from the city of Hasaka is arrested by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces during a raid on his home in the al Zuhour neighborhood of the southern city of Hasaka and taken to an unknown location.

July 24 – Several Syrian Democratic Forces rockets hit the Kuwait al Rahma IDP camp, southeast of the city of Afrin in Aleppo’s northern suburbs. The shelling claims one death and several wounded.

July 25 – A nine-year-old girl was shot dead by Syrian Democratic Forces militias in the city of Manbij when they fired at a fleeing person.

July 25 – A civilian from the village of Tal al Damal in southern Aleppo governorate is killed in rocket fire by the Syrian Democratic Forces.

On the subject

– violations of human rights –
Yazidi politician: PKK must stop forced conscription of our children

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Yazidi politician: PKK must stop forced conscription of our children

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