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PKK/YPG terrorist group continues to kidnap children to recruit them as ‘child fighters’

The PKK/YPG, a militant group operating in Syria, has been recruiting child soldiers and engaging in other criminal activities. These reports have raised concerns about the group's tactics, including the alleged abduction, brainwashing, and isolation of children for use as child fighters.

Published September 16,2023

The PKK/YPG terrorist group, which has strong US support in Syria, continues its criminal activity by kidnapping innocent children in order to recruit them as "child fighters" after brainwashing and isolating them from their families.

Despite the UN special representative's meeting with PKK terrorist Ferhat Abdi Sahin, codenamed Mazlum Abdi, one of the PKK/YPG ringleaders, who signed an "action plan" in June 2019 at the UN Office in Geneva to release "child fighters within the organization," it continues this criminal practice by taking away children from their families.

The terror group usually kidnaps schoolchildren in the areas it has occupied in Syria, particularly along school routes, and then forcibly recruits them into its illegal armed force.

The PKK/YPG, which takes kidnapped and detained children to camps for armed training, also forbids them from ever communicating with their families again.

Children who are forced to take part in armed training are used in the organization's terrorist activities. Images and news about "child fighters" also appeared on several of its propaganda social media sites.

According to the Kurdish opposition group Independent Kurdish Order, the PKK/YPG terrorists kidnapped 18 more children between the ages of 14 and 17, including six from Hasakah province, seven from Qamishli district, and five from Aleppo province, and took them to so-called training camps in July of this year.

Sabah Anter, whose daughter was kidnapped by terror members two years ago in the PKK/YPG-controlled Qamishli district of northeastern Syria, told Anadolu on Aug. 3: "She was a school-going young girl when she was kidnapped."

"I went to the security forces and UN offices in the region to protest her kidnapping. There is no door left that I haven't knocked on for justice," Anter said, adding, "but I haven't been able to find my daughter."

"My daughter was so young. She was kidnapped by the terror organization when she was just 16 years old. She wanted to be a teacher," she said.

Anadolu photographs taken in June last year of tombstones in the Ayn-al Arab district, where the PKK/YPG victims of kidnapped "child fighters" are buried, clearly state their ages between 14 and 17 in Arabic and Kurdish languages.

Tombstones in the cemetery in the PKK/YPG-occupied Ayn-al Arab district show that the terrorist organization is dragging children into violence following their kidnapping and separating them from their families.

The US, which talks about democracy and human rights, is increasing its cooperation with the PKK/YPG in Syria, which has a bad track record for terrorist crimes.

The US provides financial and political support to the terrorist organization, which separates hundreds of children from their families and equips them with light and heavy weapons to take part in terrorist activities.

Virginia Gamba, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' special representative on Children in Armed Conflicts, signed the action plan prepared "for the release of child fighters within the organization" on June 29, 2019, but without the knowledge of the member states.

Ankara later issued a protest note to the UN on the matter.

The UN Human Rights Council revealed in a report released on Jan. 16, 2020, that PKK/YPG terrorists are using children as "fighters" in Syria.

The fact that the terror group forces children to fight was also mentioned in the "2020 Human Trafficking Report" released by the US State Department on June 26, 2020.

The YPG continued to forcibly recruit and use even 12-year-old boys and girls from asylum camps in northwestern Syria, the report said.

The UN prepared the "Children in Annual Armed Conflicts" report for the period of January-December 2022, the terrorist organization PKK and the Syrian extension SDF and YPG. It was stated in the document that more than 1,200 children had been used as "soldiers" in 2022.

According to the report, the Syrian branch of the PKK, the SDF, has recruited 637 children, while the PKK/YPG and SDF-affiliated organizations have recruited 633 children to their armed staff.

Guterres, whose views were included in the report, expressed how "extremely concerned" he feels about the use of children as "soldiers" by the PKK/YPG.

"I invite them to stop using children as soldiers and for different purposes and release all the children in their ranks," the report said quoting the UN chief.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the terrorist PKK's Syrian branch.