The United States expressed concern over the surge of violence in Syria's Manbij after the PKK terror group's Syrian offshoot, the YPG, opened fire on protesters killing at least eight individuals, while the terrorists recently said they would heed to the demands of the protesters.
"We urge all parties in Syria to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to peacefully assemble," a State Department official said in a statement emailed to Anadolu Agency (AA).
"We regularly discuss human rights issues with SDF leadership as an integral aspect of our joint efforts to promote stability in northeast Syria and ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS," the official added, using another name for Daesh.
The PKK is a designated terrorist organization in the U.S., Turkey and the EU, and Washington's support for its Syrian affiliate has been a major strain on bilateral relations with Ankara.
Meanwhile, the YPG/PKK terrorist group gave in to the demands of the people of Manbij in northeastern Syria Wednesday, announcing that it will release all prisoners arrested during recent protests, end forced recruiting and punish those who fired on peaceful protestors.
Following the move by the terrorist group, the people reciprocated and ended their peaceful protests.
Residents of Manbij protested Monday and Tuesday against the YPG/PKK's forcible recruitment of their children.
An AA correspondent in the city said the agreements were reached at a meeting between the YPG/PKK and the heads of families as well as prominent figures in Manbij.
During the protests Monday and Tuesday, eight people were killed and 27 others were wounded when the YPG/PKK opened fire on them.
People in Manbij, where Arabs make up 90% of the population, have been protesting the forced recruitment of their children since Monday.
The terrorist group seeks to recruit civilians for terrorist activities from areas under their control, including Ain al-Arab, Qamishli, al-Malikiyah, Darbasiyah, Hassakeh, Raqqa, Deir el-Zour and Manbij.
A United Nations report stated that the YPG/PKK has been recruiting children to fight among its ranks, adding that the organization has enlisted at least 400 children in the past two years.
The recruitment and use of large numbers of children were attributed to the YPG and its components, representing 35% of all verified cases, the U.N. said.
International law prohibits nonstate armed groups from recruiting anyone under 18, and enlisting children under 15 is considered a war crime.
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).
The YPG used 318 children among its ranks to fight, while its women's branch, the YPJ, used 99, the report added.
“In one example from September 2018, a 16-year-old girl disappeared from her school in Qamishli, Hassakeh, and joined the YPJ at its base in Antariyah, from where she was deployed to a military training camp in Karbawi for three weeks.”
Though the PKK/YPG initially signed a pledge with Geneva Call – a Swiss humanitarian organization that works to "protect civilians in armed conflict" – to stop the recruitment of children in 2014, its use of children has only increased since then.
Turkey and the U.S. demand that the terrorist group exit Manbij, which fell under YPG/PKK control in August 2016.
The U.S. has primarily partnered with the YPG in northern Syria in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group. 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 children, extrajudicial killings, torture, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement.
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