Recruitment of children | “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” kidnaps 20 minor boys and girls since early 2022
“Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” (the Revolutionary Youth) continues to kidnap children aged less than eighteen years in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration in north and east Syria, blatantly violating all international human rights charters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has documented the kidnapping of 20 children by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” since early 2022.
Residents assign full responsibility for the recruitment of children by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” to Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Autonomous Administration, the holders of power in that region. The region’s residents also demand SDF comply with the UN conventions regarding the prevention of recruitment of children, which SDF had signed, release the little recruits immediately and bring them back to their families.
Since the beginning of 2022, SOHR has monitored and tracked the kidnapping of minor boys and girls by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah,” the fate of some whom remains unknown. Here are further details on the circumstances of these kidnappings:
- March 5: A 15-year-old girl known by his initials as M. A. was kidnapped by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” in Ain Al-Arab city (Kobani) in eastern Aleppo.
- March 13: “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” kidnapped a girl, born in 2006, known as M. M. from Al-Yajjagh village in Kobani.
- March 18: “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” kidnapped a boy known as W. F. from Al-Qamishli city. The boy’s family staged set-in protests in front of headquarters of the United Nations in Al-Qamishli city, demanding relevant authorities intervene and disclose the fate of their son, but to no avail.
- March 24: A girl, born in 2006, known as S. M. from Menas village in Kobani countryside was kidnapped by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah.”
- March 29: “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” kidnapped three displaced minors in Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood; they are:
-A 13-year-old girl known by her initials as N. K. from Afrin canton and a 16-year old girl known by her initials as R. S. from Sharran district in Afrin. The two girls live in Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood, and they were kidnapped in front of Qahraman school in the neighbourhood. The fate of the two girls remains unknown.
-A minor boy known as K. T. from Sheikh Hadeed district in Afrin and living in Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood.
- March 31: A child known by his initials as W. K. from Raju district in Afrin was kidnapped by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” in Tel Rifaat city, while he was working in a sewing workshop. The fate of the boy remains unknown.
- February 17: A 15-year-old boy known as M. A. from Afrin was kidnapped by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” in Kobani city. The fate of the boy remains unknown.
- February 21: A 14-year-old girl known by her initials as S. D. from Kobani city and her 16-year-old friend known by her initials as N. H. were kidnapped by “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” in front of “Ashtia” School in Kobani. Their family appealed to SDF commander, Mazloum Abdi, to stop violations committed against children.
- February 26: A 13-year-old displaced girl known by her initials as M. F. from Afrin and living in Kobani area was kidnapped by “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” members.
- February 27: Two children, documented by initials in order to ensure anonymity: D. M. and M. M., born in 2008 were kidnapped by “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” in Al-Jadid neighbourhood in Kobani city.
- January 4: A 16-year-old displaced girl from Manbaj and living in Al-Raqqah was kidnapped by the “Revolutionary Youth.”
- January 6: “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” kidnapped a 16-year-old girl known by her initials as A. M. from Al-Derbasiyah city. The girl was taken to camps of the “Revolutionary Youth” in Al-Qamishli.
- January 10: A 14-year-old displaced child known by his initials as A. A. from Afrin and living in Al-Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood was kidnapped by the “Revolutionary Youth.”
- January 14: “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” kidnapped a 13-year-old girl known by her initials as M. A. in Kobani, to recruit her.
- January 16: “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” kidnapped a16-year-old girl known by her initials as S. M. from Fatumah village in the countryside of Al-Malikiyah, east of Al-Hasakah.
- January 28: A family from Al-Hasakah city accused “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” of kidnapping their 14-year-old son.
- January 28: A child known by his initials as M. H. from Al-Hasakah, born in 2007, was kidnapped by “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah.” The mother of the child posted on social media, describing the abuses of “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” as blatant violations of child rights.
On the other hand, several minor recruits were released in 2022 and brought back to their families, in accordance with a convention signed by SDF and UN in July 2019. In this context, a 16-year old girl known as K. Y. was delivered to her family in Kornaish neighbourhood in Al-Qamishli in February, after she had expressed her desire to return to her home.
The girl told SOHR, “I decided to join the ‘Revolutionary Youth’ when I was 14. I underwent ideological and military courses in its camps, before I was sent to Al-Tabaqah city where I served in the ‘Revolutionary Youth’ ranks for nearly one year and a half. During this period, I attempted to escape to Al-Qamishli where I was arrested by ‘Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah,’ interrogated in special centres affiliated to it and endured considerable mental pressure.”
Four other children, of those who had been kidnapped by “Al-Shabibah Al-Thawriyah” in 2022, were delivered to their families. The two children who had been kidnapped in Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood on March 29, N. K. and K. T., were brought back to their families. While the two other children are the girl who is known as S. D. and her friend N. H. who are from Kobani.
It is worth noting that Syria Democratic Forces and the United Nations signed a convention on July 19, 2019 and stipulated for the release of male and female recruits aged less than 18 years and prohibition of recruitment of children.