Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue issues report on (Turkey and child recruitment)

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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Press Release


On Wednesday, July 7, 2021, the Research and Studies Unit of the Dialogue Forum for Development and Human Rights issued a report on “Turkey and child recruitment”

The report stressed that the recruitment of children is a full-fledged war crime and an explicit violation of international conventions where millions of the world’s children live in military conflicts and difficult circumstances, making them vulnerable to serious violations requiring special protection for these children in situations of armed conflict.

The report noted the Turkish government’s involvement in recruiting children in Syria and Libya, taking advantage of the difficult political and economic conditions they are going through.

The report explained that the recruitment of children was one of six serious violations against children identified by the United Nations, and the Syrian Centre for Justice noted turkey’s ongoing practices of recruiting minors, that the recruitment of children remained a continuing concern in Syria, and that Turkish armed groups had arrested and tortured children belonging to other militant factions.

The report also referred to the exploitation of The Syrian situation by Turkish policy and worked to recruit children and send them to the front lines of the fighting in Libya in exchange for money and promises of Turkish citizenship and get away from the life of camps, according to some international reports.

With regard to the stages of child recruitment and the position of Syrian families, the report stated that Turkey has provided many material temptations for Syrian children and their families to recruit them in the wars inside and outside Syria, took advantage of the difficult economic conditions of the Syrian family and convinced their families of funds of up to 3,000 dollars per month.

As for the Turkish position and its opposition to international agreements, the report stated

The Turkish-backed Syrian National Army factions, which belong to the Interim Syrian Government, also recruited children into their ranks in Ras al-Ain, following Turkey’s Operation Spring of Peace, supported by the Syrian National Army, in October 2019, against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and took control of large areas of northeastern Syria, where at least three cases of children recruited by “Ahrar Al-Sharq” and” Sultan Murad” brigades were documented. In late 2019 and the beginning of 2020, they are still in service to this day according to the UN 2020 report.

The report further explained that since the outbreak of the crisis in Libya, children have been subjected to various kinds of violence and violations, and the International Treaty on the Rights of the Child has not prevented the targeting of this vulnerable group, where Turkey does not stop recruiting Syrian children in Libya to fight alongside the Government of Reconciliation, but it has not stopped there Turkey has  recruited of dozens of Syrian children to travel to Libya, fight there and die for the ambitions of Erdogan and his allies, in flagrant violation of children’s rights protocols and international law.

The report also stated with regard to Turkish violations against children that Turkey provided military support to support the Government of Sarraj in the face of the Libyan National Army and succeeded in transferring many Syrian children to Libyan territory who had to face their inevitable death after Turkey imprisoned them in the midst of the Libyan civil war,

The report noted that the recruitment of children to fight in Libya is a phenomenon that continues, according to the Libyan Center for Human Rights, which accuses the Turkish government of exploiting the situation in Libya, where Misrata militias, which are engaged in the most vicious confrontation against the National Army forces, relied on young children trained in the Battle of Sirte 2016.

The report also showed that 295 children between the ages of 13 and 18, mostly from Sultan Murad’s brigade, were recruited to fight in Libya through a process of material temptation to take full advantage of the difficult living situation and poverty.

Also stated in the report was the killing of 287 mercenaries from Syria, including 16 children in the ranks of militias in Libya, stressing that the number of Syrian mercenaries reached more than 11 thousand armed.

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