The PKK terrorist group's Syrian branch, the YPG, is committing war crimes by abducting children, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SMDK) said in a statement Tuesday.
SMDK, an umbrella organization for the moderate forces opposing the Bashar Assad regime, added that the YPG/PKK continues to forcibly recruit children.
"It is a war crime that YPG terrorists abduct and forcibly recruit children. Support for this terrorist group, which is worse than Daesh, needs to be reevaluated," SMDK said, criticizing the West’s support for the terrorist group, most notably by the U.S.
The organization added that steps were needed for the better protection of children from terrorist organizations.
"We want the organization to be condemned and put on trial,” it added.
The YPG/PKK has especially focused on abducting children during the last couple of months. In July alone, two girls and two boys have been abducted and forcibly recruited. In June, the terrorist group abducted several children between the ages of 11 and 17.
The families of the abducted children long to see their loved ones released by the terrorists.
A prominent example of child abuse by the YPG/PKK recently made the headlines.
Dalya Mahmut Muslum, a 21-year-old niece of the former head of the PYD – a branch of the YPG/PKK terrorist group, Salih Muslum, made a chilling confession after surrendering to the Turkish security forces in the southern province of Mersin.
Muslum said her father, Mahmut Muslum, had promised to "gift" a child to the terrorist group and that's why she had to join the YPG/PKK in 2013 when she was only 14. After joining the group, she was first kept in a "child camp" in the eastern Syrian province of Qamishli.
The YPG/PKK'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 group reportedly tricks families into giving up their children or outright kidnaps them, taking them to training camps where they are denied contact with their families.
Kurdish mothers whose children were abducted by the YPG/PKK have been staging a sit-in protest in southeastern Turkey’s Diyarbakır city in front of the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) office for nearly 11 months.
In 2018, a United Nations annual report on children in armed conflict revealed 224 cases of child recruitment by the YPG/PKK between January and December in 2017, a fivefold increase compared with previous years.
The HRW also documented that the terrorist group continues to recruit children despite objections from families and prevents parents from getting in touch with their kids. The HRW has also documented the YPG/PKK's use of torture and efforts to deliberately disrupt educational and health services.
The Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War prohibits the use of children under age 15 as soldiers.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
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