YPG Spokesperson: We abide by protocols, do not recruit minors

Nuri Mahmoud pointed out that the special-war-circles affiliated parties exploit the minors' issue to defame the values and principles of the revolution, and the democratic system in Rojava, northeast Syria.

The spokesperson for the People's Protection Units, (YPG), Nuri Mahmoud, refuted some parties' allegations about the SDF's recruitment of minors. In a statement to ANHA news agency, he made it clear that they are committed to their protocols signed with the United Nations.

Mahmoud noted that the revolution of Rojava in North-East Syria (NES) has reached a great stage regionally and the world at large and is a vanguard in the human revolutionary struggle. He said: “That is why smear campaigns are launched against the people of Rojava and NES from special war centers”.

Campaigns to defame the values of the revolution

YPG Spokesperson indicated that the special war circles had recently focused on the issue of minors and said: "The aim of these campaigns is to distort the revolutionary struggle over the past years, and to defame the Rojava and NES administration."

“Children are the future of the region. We view children from this standpoint, and they are brought up according to values of the community.”

Mahmoud pointed out that those war circles try hard to distort the region's struggle by all means and methods, especially the minors matter. "Therefore, our people must beware these policies,” he added.

Mahmoud confirmed that the People's Protection Units and Women’s Protection Units, (YPG, YPJ) have taken the sensitivities of the society into consideration since the first day they were established.

“Our forces have taken the values and perspectives of the society into consideration in all aspects. In the entire North-East Syrian territories, children have been protected from terror and fascist attacks. Thousands of children we have freed from ISIS, and their families are familiar with this humanitarian approach of ours”, he underlined.

Mohmoud pointed out that the institutions in North-East Syria are also very sensitive with regard to the minor issue and continued: “Some children escape from their families. Our institutions continue to provide them with all the necessary care. To us, children are the greatest value. The continuation of the values of society and the nation depends on them. For this reason, we do our best to make sure that our children grow up with their families and are provided with the best service.”

Children influenced by revolutionary figures

Mahmoud noted that children are influenced by the revolution and the revolutionary figures. “Many of them want to join our forces but we are trying to produce a solution to this matter with the help of the Autonomous Administration.”

The YPG Spokesperson pointed out that: “The children living in North-East Syria are experiencing great difficulties. There are children who want to flee home due to domestic violence and they want to join the revolutionary forces. However, in line with out loyalty to the agreements we have made with international bodies and our approach towards children, we stand firm that they need to continue their education instead of joining our ranks. Such children continue their education under the supervision of the Autonomous Administration and the United Nations.”

"We do not allow minors to join our ranks"

Stressing that no military institution in North-East Syria allows recruitment of individuals under 18 years of age, Mahmoud continued: “We refer minors who come to join our ranks to the Autonomous Administration which then provides the best environment for those minors and ensures continuation of their education. Those who do not favour the democratic system established in Rojava will not be able to achieve their goal by defaming the achievements of 11,000 martyrs.”

Mahmoud remarked that those running smear campaigns use children and make them an instrument for their political goals. He pointed to the high rate of drugs and prostitution in the Turkish-occupied areas and called upon families to be sensitive to this issue.

Noting that the region is going through a historic process, Mahmoud stressed that everyone should act in accordance with this fragile process.

In July 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict signed a joint work agreement to protect and assist children within the Autonomous Administration areas, and to prevent the recruitment of minors.