UN Human Rights Council to SDF: Stop child soldiers recruitment

The report of the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council on human rights violations in Syria condemns human rights violations by Turkey and the PKK-affiliated Syrian Democratic Forces. The Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch (IKHRW) provides presents a summary:

The 25-page UN report on widespread human rights abuses by Turkey and its proxy terrorist groups in Syria shows that these actions are systematic. “The Commission of Inquiry concludes that a single, systematic model is being used to loot people’s property, and that the Free Syrian Army is carrying out arbitrary arrests and deprives the Kurdish civilians of any liberty in Afrin and Sarekaniye,” the report said on page 10. The members of this army, through various actions, cause the people to leave their homes, and these militias and their families occupy the houses of the people. If they resisted, Kurdish civilians are threatened, extorted, tortured and killed.”

“Members of the 14th Brigade and 142nd Brigade (Shah Suleiman Group) affiliated with the Free Syrian Army in the Sheikh Hadid Afrin area in Kurdish homes have been knocking the doors of the Kurdish homes one by one and given the opportunity to leave their homes for a maximum of three days,” the report said. “Leave to evacuate so that the families from out of Afrin to be accommodated”. They have also imposed heavy taxes on the agricultural products of the villagers. “Some families also say that between 10,000 and 25,000 Syrian Liras have been extorted from them.”

“In one case, a Free Syrian Army commander rounded up a number of Kurdish families and declared that he would massacre all Kurds between the ages of one and 80,” the report said in paragraph 43. “This frightened Kurdish families and they left the area in a few days.”

The Commission of Inquiry also addresses widespread violations of Kurdish rights in Sarekaniye, including extortion, arbitrary arrest, torture and murder, with the ultimate goal of changing the demographic structure of the region. In paragraph 51 on page 12, it writes, “In one case, a Kurdish house was forcibly evacuated and turned into a Quranic training center, and the governor of Urfa, Turkey, inaugurated it. Residents of Dawudiye village of Sarekaniye also reported that all the villagers’ houses were occupied by Turkish troops. “They prevented people from returning and turned all the houses into soldiers’ quarters.” In article 54, it refers to a Kurdish boy arrested by the Free Syrian Army, saying, “I was tied up with a cable and hung from the ceiling. I was imprisoned in Afrin for five months. I was tortured every day. Sometimes they refused to give me food.”

Paragraph 55 mentions the existence of secret prisons of the Hamzeh Brigade and writes: “A video file shows 11 Kurdish and Yazidi women being hastily transferred from a secret location. These people have been in prison since 2018 and we still do not know where they have been transferred. Paragraph 59 of the report addresses the atmosphere of fear and panic that has particularly plagued women with psychological torture and rape. “Turkish-backed groups have repeatedly raped Kurdish women and girls.”

Section 62 reports on the abduction of underage Kurdish girls and their forced marriage to members of terrorist groups. “I was abducted, forced to marry and released shortly afterwards,” said one woman.

Paragraph 75 of the report refers to the arbitrary arrest of Arab civilians by the Syrian Democratic Forces and writes, “In eight cases, we have documented that the Syrian Democratic Forces arrested Arab civilians on charges of espionage. These people were arrested in Raqqa and Hasakah. People say they were arrested without any evidence and there is never any evidence to arrest them. In four cases, they said, they were interrogated by the Americans in the prisons of the Syrian Democratic Forces.”

In paragraph 79, an Arab family says, “The Democratic Syrian Forces took our 15-year-old son as a fighter and did not return him, and asked us not to pursue our son.” “In another case, a 14-year-old girl was recruited, and shortly afterwards, officials from the Women’s Defense Units called her family and announced that their daughter had committed suicide.”

The report in the recommendations section and in paragraph 94 of “wants the Syrian Democratic Forces to stop the membership and recruitment of children as soldiers.”

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