The Kurdish National Council (KNC) called on the Kurdish Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) to stop the recruitment of children as soldiers in northern Syria on Sunday.
“Although the abduction of minors is widely condemned and banned by international law and human rights (conventions), PYD (Democratic Union Party) militants carry out horrific acts against the children of the people under various names,” the KNC said in a statement.
The KNC statement was released following the abduction of underage Yezidi girl Silva Hamid Ja’far in the Kurdish-majority Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo on Friday.
The KNC called for Silva’s release and on human rights bodies to pressure PYD-affiliated organizations to stop recruiting children.
The statement also called on the SDF leadership to return the abducted children to their families in accordance with the agreements it signed with the UN in 2019 and the international NGO Geneva Call in 2014.
On Wednesday, there were also reports that the Syrian Kurdish Revolutionary Youth Movement kidnapped 13-year-old Agirîn Abdullah in Qamishlo.
Several human rights organizations have accused the group of child recruitment. On the other hand, the SDF has rarely been mentioned in these organizations’ reports.
The human rights organization Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) revealed in a report published on Jan. 13 that the Revolutionary Youth Movement recruited 17 minors in northeastern Syria and Aleppo’s northern countryside in October, November, and December 2021.
Moreover, in April, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) war monitor accused the Revolutionary Youth Movement of abducting at least 20 children since the beginning of 2022.
IKHRW reports extensively on the use of child soldiers and the recruitment of minors by PKK’s sister-organization PJAK in Iranian Kurdistan.
IKHRW wants to express solidarity to the families of Syrian-Kurdish children recruited by SDF-affiliated organizations in Syrian Kurdistan.
IKHRW believes a collective initiative between local and international human rights organizations is needed to attract more attention to the overall recruitment of Kurdish children by Kurdish armed groups.