Human Rights Watch calls on armed groups in Syria to stop recruiting children

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New York, (SANA)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Monday the so-called the ‘Syrian opposition groups’ to stop recruiting children, warning the countries financing these groups that they could be persecuted under the charge of committing war crimes.

In a report issued under the title, “we might live and we might die.. recruiting and using children by the armed groups in Syria”, the organization pointed out that the Syrian opposition groups have been using children aged 15 in the battles or sometimes under the “guise of offering education to them”.

The New York-based organization stressed that the extremist groups, like the so-called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), affiliated to al-Qaeda, and the so-called the Free Army, the Islamic Front and Jabhat al-Nusra have recruited children through free schooling campaigns that include weapons training, and have given them dangerous tasks, including suicide bombing missions.

The HRW report was based on the experiences of 25 child who were involved in the fighting in Syria, some of whom are still fighting.

Children’s rights researcher at Human Rights WatchPriyanka Motaparthy said that the armed groups should not recruit the poor children whose relatives were killed and their schools and environment were destroyed, adding that the “horrors of the war in Syria are become worse by throwing children into the front lines.”

The report pointed out that the children interviewed by organization took part in the battles and were used as snipers, manned checkpoints, spied, cared for the wounded, or carried munitions or other supplies to the front lines.

It called for the necessity that all the armed groups should publically undertake to prevent recruiting children, as well as the governments offering aid to the armed groups need to press these groups to end child recruitment .

“Anyone providing funding for sending children to war could be complicit in war crimes,” the report asserted.

Earlier Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari stressed that the Syrian government is committed to the international conventions and charters related to the rights of the children.

In a relevant context, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Syria became party in 2003, states that, “Armed groups should not under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years.

H. Zain/ Ghossoun