Tombstones in northern Syria, close to the Turkish border, provide grim evidence of the fate of young boys and girls forcibly recruited by the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group.
According to footage obtained by Anadolu Agency (AA), the tombstones of several YPG/PKK members at a cemetery in the city of Ain al-Arab (Kobani) show that they died between the ages of 14 and 17. The slain YPG/PKK members were born in the late 1990s and died in the mid-2010s.
The use of children as armed combatants, by terrorist groups or otherwise, is expressly forbidden under international humanitarian law and is defined as a war crime by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The YPG/PKK’s use of child soldiers was highlighted by the United States State Department’s 2020 “Trafficking in Persons Report.”
The report underlined that the YPG/PKK continued to forcibly recruit boys and girls as young as 12 from refugee camps located in northwestern Syria.
This week, locals in Aleppo, Syria – near northern areas controlled by YPG/PKK terrorists – said two brothers, just 9 and 10 years old, had just been kidnapped by the terrorist group.
Moreover, a January 2020 United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) report said its findings suggest the YPG/PKK continues to use children as fighters in Syria.
In July 2019, Virginia Gamba, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for children and armed conflict, signed an action plan with the YPG/PKK to end and prevent the recruitment and use of minors under 18, but the terrorist group has violated the plan .
The YPG/PKK recruited about a dozen Kurdish and Arab children, according to video footage released on Friday.
A total of 11 children were seen carrying the posters of Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK ringleader imprisoned in Turkey, and pieces of rags symbolizing the terrorist group.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.