UPDATE: The YPG sent Human Rights Watch this response on July 22, 2015, pledging to “follow up” cases referenced in this report.
(New York) – The Kurdish armed group that controls territory in northern Syria, despite some progress, is still not meeting its commitment to demobilize child soldiers and to stop using boys and girls under 18 in combat, Human Rights Watch said today.
On June 5, 2014, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) signed a “Deed of Commitment” with the nongovernmental organization Geneva Call pledging to demobilize all fighters under 18 within one month. One month later, it demobilized 149 children. Despite this promise and the initial progress, Human Rights Watch documented cases over the past year of children under 18 joining and fighting with the YPG and the YPJ, its female branch. Some children under 18 with those forces, based on public sources, apparently died in combat in June 2015.