The PKK terrorist group’s Syrian branch YPG continues to recruit child soldiers, despite international calls to stop the practice, recent reports revealed.
Although the terrorist group in 2019 signed an action plan with the U.N. to "end and prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers," the recruitment of child soldiers has not stopped.
From January 2014 to September 2020, the PKK/YPG recruited at least 911 children, according to U.N. data and data supplied by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), the Syria Direct reported.
As the statistics by the U.N. Office of Children and Armed Conflict reveal, the PKK/YPG recruited 224 children in 2017, 313 children in 2018, and a total of 300 children in 2019 and 2020 until September combined.
The U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General’s (DoD-OIG) Aug. 4 report on Command Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) noted that in 2019, the PKK/YPG "recruited children into their ranks from displacement camps in northeastern Syria."
The report further added that each year since 2014, the "Kurdish entities partnered with the U.S." made promises to end the use of child soldiers, but that each year the practice continues.
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 use of child soldiers in 2014, its use of child soldiers has only increased since then.
Local people living in areas held by the PKK/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.
The U.S. has primarily partnered with the PKK/YPG in northern Syria in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group. Turkey strongly opposes the PKK/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 PKK/YPG, despite its NATO ally's security concerns.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union, has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than four decades and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.
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