By Ali al-Abdullah
It is not unusual that Human Rights Organizations slam the armed groups in Syria for recruiting Syrian minors to fight in their lines. Hundreds of videos and images broadcasted on YouTube reveal that these children fight in the front lines in Syria. This phenomenon was greatly conspicuous in some Syrian countryside, especially Edlib and Aleppo’s countryside.
Moreover, Syrian official authorities reiterated that there are no accurate statistics of the number of recruited children due to the difficulty of reaching them in battle areas.
Syrian Committee for Family Affairs: Recruiting Children Horrible Crime
Head of the Syrian Committee for Family Affairs Dr. Ansaf Hamad told al-Ahed News website, “Recruiting children is a crime that is punishable by law, since it is described as human trafficking and an unacceptable phenomenon violating laws, international agreements and protocols related to children’s rights.”
Furthermore, she added that the Syrian Committee of Family Affairs pursuits this phenomenon suspiciously spread in Syria through launching TV awareness campaigns warning of the dangers of recruiting children. It is also putting together a work plan with the National Conciliation Ministry in the Syrian People’s Assembly in light of the Committee’s inability to reach these groups except by mediums, primarily aiming at providing the suitable treatment for them.
Dr. Hamad pointed out, “Children who are carrying weapons are under 18 years-old,” underscoring, “Recruiting Syrian children in the crisis is not only limited to carrying weapons, but also transferring weapons, accompanying armed men, standing at checkpoints and surveillance.”
“This phenomenon changes the child into an unstable human being,” she further stressed.
Furthermore, Hamad underscored, “The Committee is trying to reach the humanitarian side of the armed children’s parents – who consent such arming – through increasing their awareness that the law prosecutes culprits of children recruiting.”
“The Committee is unable to reach the children’s parents,” Dr. Hamad stated, emphasizing, “This dangerous phenomenon surpassed merely carrying weapons to reach sexually harassment by the armed men.”
Ethical, Legal, Legislative Violation
Syria’s President of the Bar Nizar Skeif stated, “Terrorist cells recruiting minors for fight is described as an ethical violation as well as a legal violation,” adding, “Child enlisting is considered a great violation in terms of national and ethical norms because this minor should be given all the care and habilitation to become a proactive member of society.”
Legislatively and legally speaking, Skeif clarified, “Human rights accords regarding children in the United Nations prohibited and warned of the dangers of child recruiting in armed conflicts, and also reiterated the necessity of child care and good living conditions. Therefore, what the armed groups are doing goes against all international norms and divine legislations.”
Skeif further called on “the necessity to treat this negative phenomenon in order to protect this generation from being engaged in this ambiance.”
“Recruiting children is a form of human and minor trafficking,” he added.
Ignorance, Poverty Reasons behind Foolish Crime
For his part, opposition member of the Popular Front for Liberation and Change, Afif Rahmeh noted, “The opposition recruiting children indicates the decrease in the level of its awareness, tomfoolery, and ignorance.”
“Our society never witnessed such a phenomenon and unfortunately, the idea of murder has been engraved in the child’s mind, where he would see in murder and violence the ability to achieve his interests,” he added.
“We warn of the catastrophic results of such phenomena in case the crisis in Syria ends, since violence will be engraved in the child’s mentality, which could drive him to murder as well as social and psychological disorders,” Rahmeh stated.
Also, opposition member Rahmeh noted, “These practices could encourage the child to take his own right, violating all customs and traditions.”
“Syrian agricultural provinces are mostly influenced with ignorance and illiteracy, and it is normal that their children would be attracted to violence to accentuate their presence and imitate adults.”
“The Syrian community suffers a financial pickle currently, which drives some to exploit this fact,” he stressed.
“No man would sell himself unless he reached severe poverty, and this is what happened in the popular environment in some provinces, such as Edlib countryside, where 36% work in agriculture and the other third work in social services,” Rahmeh stated.
Source: al-Ahed News, Translated and Edited by moqawama.org