Child recruitment among Syrian armed groups: UN report
The report notes that the US-backed SDF armed groups are the most prolific child-recruiting armed group in Syria.
A new report by the United Nations shows that while fighting in most parts of Syria has been winding down, child recruitment has been proliferating.
"Armed groups have recruited children throughout the past 12 years of conflict and civil war in Syria. The number of children recruited by armed groups in Syria has risen steadily over the past three years — from 813 in 2020 to 1,296 in 2021 and 1,696 in 2022," Associated Press reported citing the UN report.
Among those allegedly recruiting children is a US ally in the battle against Islamic State extremists -- the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces armed groups, according to the UN.
In 2022, the UN attributed more than a third of the cases, or 637, to the SDF and associated groups in northeast Syria.
The UN report confirmed that the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army has recruited 611 child soldiers and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) which is based in Idlib recruited 383 child soldiers.
The report adds that the US-backed Syrian democratic forces are the most prolific child-recruiting armed group in Syria accounting for almost half of the child recruitment cases in Syria in 2022.
Back in April, the US-backed Kurdish groups, which control large areas in northern and northeastern Syria, expressed their willingness to meet with the Syrian government, with the aim of reaching a solution to the crisis in the country.
The move comes after most Arab countries restored ties with Damascus, or are on the way, after over a decade of severed relations.
The increasing tensions between the US and some of its allies in the Middle East, most significantly Saudi Arabia, and Riyadh's restoration of ties with Iran after Beijing's mediation, were also major geopolitical shifts that took place in just a few months and impacted the region's conventional status quo ties.
"We affirm our readiness to meet with the Syrian government and hold talks with it and with all the Syrian parties, in order to consult and discuss to present initiatives and find a solution to the Syrian crisis," the Kurdish administration said.
The statement appealed to Arab countries, the United Nations, and all international organizations and countries with influence in Syria, to "play a positive and effective role that contributes to the search for a common solution with the Syrian government."