Pentagon Report Says US’s Kurdish Allies in Syria Recruiting Child Soldiers

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition of mostly Kurdish militia units operating in northeastern Syria, has maintained de-facto control over much of the oil-rich eastern area of that Middle Eastern nation since the start of the Syrian conflict in the early 2010s.

A new report to Congress by the Office of the Inspector General at the US Department of Defence has criticised the SDF militias’ ongoing practice of recruiting child soldiers, with the militia forces reportedly promising to stop doing so since at least 2014.

“Considerable additional detail on the SDF’s actions to end the use of child soldiers subject was provided in the [Department of State] Country Report on Human Rights Conditions section for Syria for 2019, issued in March 2020, but the report also notes allegations that children were still being forcibly conscripted and that at least one 14-year-old boy was killed in fighting in Baghouz in early 2019,” the report indicates.

Commenting on this state of affairs for the report, the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs said that this was an issue “limited more to the YPG [Kurdish People’s Protection Unit militias] rather than the SDF or internal security forces as a whole.”

Turkish Abuses

The Pentagon’s quarterly report, compiled for the period running April 1-June 30, 2020, also criticises the US’s NATO ally Turkey, citing a US European Command assessment calling Turkey a “major facilitation hub” for…

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