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Syria: PKK-affiliated Organization Accused of Recruting Child Soldiers

An organization in Syria, which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), has been accused of kidnapping and recruiting children, a monitor revealed on Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), cited "very reliable sources" as reporting that Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah have continued to kidnap and recruit children under 18 in areas held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), despite several calls by the SDF general commander, Mazloum Kobani, to put an end to this practice.

SOHR noted that those children have been kidnapped and turned "into soldiers at a time where these children are supposed to be at home alongside their parents having a normal childhood, without depriving them from their most basic rights, perhaps their right of education is the simplest."

Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah, also known as Juanen Shorishger or the Revolutionary Youth Organization, has close relations with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a party which is connected to the PKK.

Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah "continues the recruitment operations despite all calls to stop kidnapping children and bring the kidnapped children back to their families," the Britain-based monitoring group added. "Even the orders of the SDF Commander-in-Chief, “Mazloum Abdi”, were disregarded."

The Observatory revealed that it "had monitored a new kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl, known by her initials as (F.D.), from the area of Ain al-Arab (Kobane). The girl was kidnapped and recruited into the ranks of “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah”, amid calls by her family for her to be brought back, a thing which is echoed by the parents of the kidnapped children."

In the meantime, parents have continued to call on SOHR to exert more pressure to ensure the release of their children.

"In this context, very reliable sources had informed the Syrian Observatory that “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” kidnapped a girl known by her initials as (R.A.) from Al-Darbasiyyah city in rural Al-Hasakah, and took her later to “Al-Haykal Al-Askary” camps," SOHR said, noting that "the girl was born in 2004 while her family refuse the recruitment of their daughter for fear of her life, calling for bringing her back immediately."