Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011. Many of the parties involved are recruiting child soldiers and use them in combat—the Syrian-Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party) is no exception.

Reports by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflicts, the UN Commission of Inquiry, and also KurdWatch reveal that the People’s Defense Units (YPG) and the Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) regularly recruit children between the ages of twelve and seventeen-years-old and use them in armed combat. The deployment of children under the age of fifteen is considered a war crime. 

In 2014, the PYD signed an agreement with the organization Geneva Call in which it promised to dismiss all minors in its service, and henceforth no longer to recruit children and adolescents under the age of eighteen. This promise was not kept.

The goal of our campaign WAR IS NO EXCUSE is to inform about crimes against children and youth and to increase international pressure in order to end the PYD’s recruitment of child soldiers. In this context, the end of arms supplies to the PYD is crucial. As long as they do not comply with international human rights and international legal standards, the PYD should not be a military ally of democratic states.

The war in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State (IS) does not warrant the use of minors in combat.