Head of North and East Syria Child Protection Office: Syrian Democratic Forces committed to international conventions and global child protection laws

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — Murhaf Abdullah, Co-Chair of the Child Protection Office of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria, said Wednesday that they have come a long way in ending the recruitment of underage children.

Abdullah said they have developed support plans for demobilized youth to be managed through the recently opened regional offices, though he did not go into detail about the programs.

The Child Protection Office doesn’t just deal with underage recruitment into the regional militias, said Abdullah. They also handle issues related to youth dropping out of school and the physical and sexual exploitation of children.

In his statement, Abdullah did not disclose the number of underage children who were in the ranks of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), nor how many cases had been returned to their families, saying only that the SDF was committed to international conventions and global child protection laws.

Abdullah’s statement concluded by stating that there were many cases of underage children who had applied to join the SDF recently, but their applications had been rejected and they had been transferred to the Child Protection Office to investigate their situation and identify the causes and motives in order to support them.