Rights group: PKK forcibly recruiting children

Fighters from the People’s Protection Units, the Syrian arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. (archive photo)

by Prophet Yugel

Reports continue relentlessly that the terrorist organization of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), its armed Syrian sister, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) formed by the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) are recruiting children, arresting civilians and killing opposition figures.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirms almost daily cases from the area controlled by the “Syrian Kurdish forces”.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights, in short, has been around since 2011. For over seven years, this UK-based independent monitor has also been reporting on reportable crimes by Syrian Kurdish forces in the civil war zone. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. However, attention to gross human rights abuses by Syrian Kurdish forces in the United States or Europe is scant.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights has made a name for itself over the years and established itself within international human rights organizations. Since July 26, the Syrian Network for Human Rights has been working officially with the well-known Amnesty International to collect data on human rights violations in Syria.

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

Reports are nothing new, and recent annual reports by human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch over the past decade show that allegations against Kurdish nationalist forces in northern Syria are by no means just a marginal phenomenon.

There is now talk of systematic measures against civilians, members of the opposition or Christian minorities. They continued to forcibly recruit children, which prompted the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to condemn the actions of the “Syrian Kurdish forces” in his annual report on children and armed conflict in 2015, and called for an immediate end to them.

Apparently, the ranks of the PKK, the YPG, the SDF or the political arm of the PYD are in no way ready to take the reports seriously, let alone stop the events. Accidents are constantly denied. Almost daily, the Syrian Network for Human Rights publishes reports on the forced recruitment of children and youth who are caught on their way home or playing and taken to training camps. There they are trained in the use of weapons, and encouraged with simple promises to fight.

Therefore, the reports of the Syrian Network for Human Rights for a few days on children and adolescents stated the following:

July 20 – SDF arrests ten civilians, including a child, at an SDF checkpoint in Raqqa city and transfers them to an undisclosed training camp. On the same day, another report stated that a 22-year-old man was arrested against his will at a checkpoint in the town of Tal Tamr, northwest of Hasaka governorate, and transferred to a training camp.

July 22 – A 16-year-old boy from Al-Mashlab neighborhood in Raqqa city was arrested by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces after he crossed a checkpoint in the neighborhood and transferred him to a training camp in Raqqa Governorate.

July 23 – Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces arrested a 16-year-old boy from the town of Al-Shuhail, east of Deir Ezzor Governorate, as he was passing through a checkpoint in the town. He was taken to a training camp.

In addition to the forced recruitment of children and youth, rights groups accuse Syrian Kurdish forces of ethnic cleansing, kidnapping notables of religious minorities – including Christian minorities, persecuting the opposition, and murder and manslaughter.

According to reports by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, only a few days of kidnappings and killings included the following:

July 11 – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested a 32-year-old teacher and her 38-year-old brother from Hassaya village in Al-Mabatli governorate in the northern countryside of Aleppo governorate, and they were taken to an unknown location. The family was not informed and the detainees are not allowed to contact their family members. In 85% of these cases, the Syrian Network for Human Rights talks about torture and subsequent enforced disappearance.

July 15 – Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces arrested a 23-year-old young man from Al-Hasakah city during a raid on his house in Al-Zohour neighborhood, south of Al-Hasakah city, and transferred him to an unknown location.

July 24 – Several missiles of the Syrian Democratic Forces hit Al-Rahma Al-Kuwaiti camp for the displaced, southeast of Afrin city in the northern countryside of Aleppo. The bombing resulted in the death of one person and the injury of several others.

25 July – A nine-year-old girl was shot dead by SDF militias in Manbij city when they shot a fugitive.

July 25 – A civilian from Tal al-Dammal village, southern Aleppo governorate, was killed by missile strikes by the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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Yazidi politician: The PKK must stop the forced recruitment of our children

Yazidi lawmakers in Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region accuse the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization of kidnapping their children against their will and forcing them to fight in Syria.

Yazidi politician: The PKK must stop the forced recruitment of our children

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