Human Rights Watch: YPG Still Using Child Soldiers

Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Syria’s main Kurdish militia of continued violations of the ban on child soldiers, despite some progress to stop using boys and girls under the age of 18 in fighting.

HRW said the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG “promised to stop sending children to war and it should carry out its promise,” said Fred Abrahams, HRW’s special adviser, adding that fighting militants such as the Islamic State group is “no excuse to tolerate abuses by its own forces.”

In 2014, YPG signed a “Deed of Commitment” with the non-governmental organization Geneva Call, pledging to demobilize all fighters under 18 within a month.

HRW said that it compiled a list of 59 children – 10 of them under 15 – who were recruited by or volunteered for YPG or YPJ since July 2014.

The Syrian Coalition earlier condemned any use of children in the armed conflict by all parties, blaming the international community for each additional day in the life of the Assad regime that has killed over 17,000 children so far.

“The Assad regime’s abusing of children was the spark that ignited the Syrian revolution. In early 2011, Syrians took to the streets to protest the regime’s torturing of children who scrawled anti-regime graffiti on the walls of their school. (Source: Syrian Coalition)