Apparently, the sad story of Kurdish children in the Middle East is not over yet… Underdevelopment, Kolberi [cross-border smuggling], civil wars, and four decades of fruitless war between Turkey and the PKK, have become the leading causes of death for Kurdish children. Thousands of Kurdish children have been recruited, abducted, or deceived by the PKK over the years, only to take up arms in the mountains and frequently bombed PKK camps instead of continuing school and living with their family. Hundreds of Iranian Kurds have also fallen victim in this fruitless war.
Once recruited by this organization – voluntarily or involuntarily – there is no way to return home. The PKK does not accept its members’ resignation. Ex-fighters of the PKK have described their fate, in which they were forced to pledge themselves to the organization, an oath that cannot be broken. A fate filled with war, terror, and death awaits most of them. Only a few manage to escape.
It is not clear why the PKK still feels it must sacrifice children in its war with Turkey. Didn’t the group repeatedly promised not to use children as soldiers? How many more Kurdish children must be sacrificed so that the PKK stops recruiting children, destroying families and young people’s futures? Nowadays, the PKK keeps its youngest recruits in its largest camps in Iraqi Kurdistan, where they receive training and positions as servants, guards of leaders and in logistical functions. Yet, with the Turkish army at its doorsteps, underage recruits continue to die.
In the latest tragedy, the PKK says a group of its members has been killed in a Turkish military bombing, in mid-May, 2021. In Avashin, some of these youngsters that were recruited in violation of all international treaties, were killed in Turkish airstrikes. The news of their deaths came with a delay of about 20 days. Among the victims, is yet again the name of an Iranian. The 15-year old “Abdullah Ismaili”, born in Sardasht, with the nom de guerre “Adel Chekdar was among the reported casualties.
Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch reiterates that the PKK should answer the following tough questions:
- At what age and by what process were these youngsters recruited by the PKK?
- Why was the news of the deaths of these people announced with a delay of about 20 days?
- Why does the PKK continue to use children as soldiers in its war? Why are minors kept in PKK camps, where their safety can not be guaranteed?
- Where are the bodies of the victims and why does the PKK not facilitate delivering the bodies to the families of these people?
- By what mandate is the PKK engaged in a war with Turkey in the Kurdistan region? What does the war between the two Turkish groups have to do with the Kurds of other countries, especially the Kurds of Iran and the Kurdish teenagers?