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Syria, an armed group attacks a school

The rubble of a classroom The rubble of a classroom Photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash

26 May 2021

The Revolutionary Youth kidnaps a girl, while the illegal recruitment of children continues

As reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), “al-Shabiba al-Thawriyah” –the Syrian Youth Revolutionary Army- has kidnapped a girl from al-Tawrat village, situated in the countryside of al-Hasakah, while she was at school. After the abduction, the underage girl was taken to the headquarters of the Syrian Youth Revolutionary Army, placed just outside the city.

Like many other female minors forcibly abducted, she will be obligated to join the Youth Revolutionary Army. Because of the gendered roles ingrained in the military environment, she will presumably work as a cook for the soldiers or become a sex slave of the combatants.

This case of abduction confirms how the issue of child soldiers continues to plague Syria, especially as far as non-State armed groups are concerned. Indeed, the Syrian Youth Revolutionary Army group has long been recruiting minors to its military forces, separating them from their families. Against this appalling backdrop, it is worth celebrating the successful operation of the Child Protection offices, which in February managed to bring 15 children back to their families in northern and eastern Syria.

Moreover, the aforementioned kidnapping of the girl underscores how Syrian schools, rather than being protected as safe places, often turn out to be dangerous locations for children . As the 2020 United Nations Secretary-General’s report on the impact of conflicts on children highlights, Syria is one of the countries in which the highest numbers of attacks against schools are verified. Obviously, such a situation disrupts children’s education, impairing their growth and development.

In light of this, it is pivotal for the international community to take all measures to ensure all warring parties abide by the prohibitions of child recruitment enshrined in the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions and in the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC).

 

Sources:

https://www.syriahr.com/en/217078/

https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2020/525&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC

https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/tools-for-action/opac/

https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/atrocity-crimes/Doc.34_AP-I-EN.pdf

 

Author: Gianpaolo Mascaro; Editor: Emily Herstine

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