Parents of children who were kidnapped by the PKK’s Syrian offshoot YPG staged a protest in front of the United Nations headquarters in Qamishli, northeastern Syria, according to footage shared on Twitter.
Nearly 30 people gathered outside the U.N. headquarters to demand action, after several children, reportedly girls, were forcefully recruited by the YPG terrorists, which are primarily backed by the United States under the guise of fight against Daesh.
The protesters carried banners saying: “Bring back our children” and “Child recruitment sows panic in the heart of mothers.”
Mohammad Sharif said his 16-year-old daughter had been missing for almost a week.
“I want my daughter to come back home,” he told Agence Presse-France (AFP), adding that he believes she could be with the Women’s Protections Units (YPJ), the terrorist YPG’s women’s branch.
Balqis Hussein, 45, said her daughter had been missing for eight days.
She said she didn’t know if her child had been abducted by the YPG or joined voluntarily.
“We fear for the future of our children, they should not be recruited or made to hold weapons,” she said.
A United Nations report stated that the YPG has been recruiting children to fight among its ranks, adding that the organization has enlisted at least 400 children in the past two years.
According to the report, which documented violations toward children in Syria between July 2018 and June 2020, the YPG have continued to use children as fighters and store ammunition in schools. It pointed out the 236 attacks on schools and protected persons, of which 33 occurred in the second half of 2018, 154 in 2019 and 49 in the first half of 2020. During the incidents, members of staff were killed, maimed or arrested, and 133 children were killed or injured while at school.
While more than 400 children were used as fighters during the period, the YPG also carried out at least 4,700 rights violations toward children, including abduction and rape.
In June 2019, YPG terrorists signed a joint action plan with the U.N. to end and prevent child recruitment, but since its signing, the U.N. has confirmed at least 160 cases.
The YPG’s use of child soldiers has been repeatedly documented and criticized by international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Turkey strongly opposes the YPG's presence in northern Syria, which has been a major sticking point in strained Ankara-Washington relations. The U.S. has provided military training and thousands of truckloads of weaponry to the YPG, despite its NATO ally's security concerns.
Local people living in areas held by the YPG have long suffered from its atrocities, as the terrorist organization has a notorious record of human rights abuses, ranging from kidnappings, recruitment of child soldiers, torture, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement.
Since its foundation, the PKK has forcibly taken at least one child from families who do not "pay taxes" in support of the group. To fill its ranks, the PKK has continuously raided villages and kidnapped young adults from the ages of 15 to 20 through violent means. In addition to forced conscription, the PKK also conducts propaganda campaigns that mainly target university students. The terrorist group's approach has remained largely consistent, according to statements by captured or surrendered members of the organization.
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