The YPG, the Syrian branch of PKK terror group in Syria, continued to recruit and exploit children in the conflict-hit country, a UN report revealed.
The report, "Children and armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic" was seen by an Anadolu Agency reporter. It showed that the YPG/PKK used more than 400 children between July 2018 and June 2020.
The terror group's use of children as fighters and schools for military purposes has repeatedly been documented in UN reports.
The latest report said it is focused on grave violations against children, provides information on perpetrators and the context in which violations occurred.
The UN documented 4,724 grave violations, including recruitment, rape, and trafficking of children, were attributed to more than 32 parties to the Syrian conflict.
During the reporting period, more than 2,700 children were killed or maimed by airstrikes, explosive remnants of war and indiscriminate ground shelling.
"The recruitment and use of children continued to be widespread and systematic, with 1,423 verified cases (1,306 boys, 117 girls), comprising 274 in the second half of 2018, 837 in 2019 and 312 in the first half of 2020.
"Some 1,388 of the children (98 per cent) served in a combat role. At the time of recruitment, 250 children (18 per cent) were under 15 years of age," said the report.
YPG/PKK and YPJ
A total of 318 children were recruited and used by YPG and 99 by YPJ, the YPG's all-women wing, under the umbrella of the SDF, said the report.
The abuse of children remained in effect despite a signed joint action plan between the SDF and the UN in June 2019 to end and prevent child recruitment and use.
"Since its signing, 160 cases have occurred, including 23 children under 15 years of age and 149 children serving in a combat role," according to the report.
The UN also verified that the SDF deprived at least 150 children of their liberty as young as 9 years of age for their alleged links to the Daesh/ISIS terror group in the Ghuwayran military detention facility in Hasakah.
According to the report, child recruitment by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham "accelerated significantly" from 61 cases in the second half of 2018 to 187 in the first half of 2020.
In some instances, armed Syrian groups recruited children aged 15 and 16, trained for two weeks and sent them to Libya to fight in return for a promised stipend of $3,000 and accommodations in Libya.
According to the report, Syrian government forces and a pro-government militia in Damascus recruited and used 23 children in Dar'a, Hasakah and Aleppo.
As for sexual violence, according to the report, Daesh/ISIS remained the most prevalent perpetrator.
"Verified incidents of sexual violence against children attributed to belligerents remained underreported, with 6 cases affecting five girls and one boy as young as 10 attributed to ISIL (5) and YPG (1)," said the report.