Child Protection Office to fight use of child combatants opens in Syria’s Manbij

MANBIJ, Syria (North Press) – The Child Protection Office, the latest effort in the Syrian Democratic Forces’ and Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria’s (AANES) began work in its Manbij branch on Monday.

Its work to receive complaints from relatives of those affiliated with the military and security forces under the age of eighteen.

The office began to process and verify these complaints, sending them to the Child Protection Office in the Autonomous Administration to review the security and military forces and return those under the age of eighteen to their families.

In August, the Executive Council of the AANES decided to establish child protection offices in all cities of northeastern Syria.

This step came after an agreement signed by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander-in-Chief Mazloum Abdi with the United Nations to prevent the recruitment of children and their use as combatants in armed conflict.

Omar Saaed, co-chair of the Child Protection Office in Manbij, said that they receive written complaints from the parents of a child who is under eighteen and has joined the ranks of the Military Council in Manbij or Internal Security Forces (Asayish).

He added, in a special statement to North Press, that they make sure to prove the identity of the child according to official papers and documents and send the complaint to the General Office of the Autonomous Administration.

The number of complaints submitted to the office reached seven, four male and three female children, and no child was returned yet, pending a response from the General Office for Child Protection in North East Syria, according to Saaed.

Last month, the Child Protection Office in Hasakah handed over two minors who were in the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces to their families.

At that time, Khaled al-Jabr, a lawyer in the Hasakah Council, told North Press that SDF was showing a great response to this step.

Reporting by Saddam al-Hasan