Children In Syria Still Lured Into War Employment By Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The use of children as soldiers has increased in the Corona Virus times. Statistics reveal that more than 20 countries worldwide have made use of children as soldiers; all of whom are less than 18 years of age.

The trend has been prevalent in the Middle East and East African conflict regions since the 1980s and continues, despite intervention of humanitarian, child rights protection and human rights protection organizations.

Off late, Turkey has been indulging in this crime against humanity, where it has been recruiting child soldiers from Syria. In the guise of employment, Syrian children have been picked to join forces that are working to feed the ongoing civil war in Libya.

According to the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR), more than 12000 Syrian mercenaries have volunteered to join the cause of senseless war in Libya for Turkey. They have been lured with money and a sense of purpose and employment. Many of these comprise children under the age of 18 years. These children belong to the war torn Syrian regions of Idlib and north Aleppo countryside to Afrin. Many of them are brainwashed in not disclosing their whereabouts and employment status to their families. In most cases, Turkish-backed factions are to be blamed for using these children to engage in fighting in the side of the “Government of National Accord” against Hafter’s forces in Libyan territory. Most of them have been lured due to harsh living conditions, which have been created by Turkey, Russia, UAE and Saudi Arabia due to ongoing civil war .

According to reports shared by the UNICEF in its open forum to protect the rights of children and young adolescents, children have been subjected to atrocities in the hope of a better future.  Some have been abducted and tortured to join militia forces to fight civil wars. Others willfully join the militias across the world in the hope of escaping poverty or getting access of loot and riches. Children live and work in very harsh conditions that have reportedly had long term psychological effect of survivors.

Girls are also recruited and used by armed forces and groups. They have vulnerabilities unique to their gender and place in society and suffer specific consequences including, but not limited to, rape and sexual violence, pregnancy and pregnancy-related complications, stigma and rejection by families and communities. This kind of recruitment is more common in India. Many times, children are recruited at a young age and continue to function in these harsh setups for years together, serving the purpose of perpetuity. The civil war in Philippines and Uganda was a classic example of this in the 1980s.

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