Mrs. Virginia Gamba the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict held on Yesterday Monday a televised meeting with the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the co-chair of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and Eastern Syria.
The meeting was attended by the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces, General Mazloum Abdi, along with Mr. Abd al-Mahbash, the joint head of the Executive Council for the Autonomous Administration of North and Eastern Syria, in addition to the leadership in the Women Protection Units, Nowruz Ahmed, and Nasreen Abdullah and Redor Khalil from the Relations Office of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Military contact point with the United Nations.
The meeting dealt with the joint action plan with the United Nations signed on 29 June 2019, and the steps taken by the SDF and the Autonomous Administration in their explicit commitment to it. Mrs. Gamba praised the great and successful progress in implementation and the commitment made by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Autonomous Administration.
The meeting also discussed the conditions of children of non-Syrian ISIS families (Cubs of the Caliphate) detained in north and eastern Syria, the possibility of their return to their countries of origin, and the need to establish rehabilitation centers in the short and medium term in order to find a radical solution to their case of returning them to their countries.
The two parties emphasized that the detention centers are not the right place to put children as victims of armed conflict, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces welcomed the United Nations, through its international partners, to conduct visits to detention centers for children of ISIS families (Cubs of the Caliphate) to assess their needs.
The meeting also discussed the situation of non-Syrian foreign women and children in both Al-Hol camp and Roj camp and the need to find a comprehensive solution for them by urging countries that have nationals in north and eastern Syria to respond quickly to return them to their countries and to provide the necessary support for that.
During the past year, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Autonomous Administration of North and Eastern Syria had established the agreement with the United Nations on many activities and updated laws, including:
1- Issuing a military order from the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces to prevent the recruitment and use of children in the armed conflict, July 2019.
2- discharging 30 children in 2019 and handing them over to their families, discharging of 51 girls from the military forces and joining them to a private school under the supervision of the Education Authority in the Autonomous Administration of North and Eastern Syria on 11 January, 2020, with the possibility of UN partners reaching them and providing them with their needs, dismissal of 18 A child from the military forces, placing them in a safe center, and discharging 35 under- age, including 5 girls who were returned to their families.
3- Allow access for United Nations partners to the Hori Rehabilitation Center in Al-Hasakeh, as well as access to a private girls’ school to assess needs and support them.
4- Issuing a military order from the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces to prevent the use of schools by the military forces on 13 July, 2020, and the evacuation of 12 schools from the military presence in Al-Hasakah, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor and hand them over to the relevant civilian authorities.
5- Establishing a committee to assess the ages of new recruits to the Self-Defense Duty Forces and to train its members by United Nations partners. During the months of July and August 2020, this committee was able to return 254 recruits due to their ineligibility for military service due to their age of less than 18 years.
6- Issuing a joint statement between the SDF and the Autonomous Administration (political directive + military order) on 29 August, 2020 regarding the formation of a civilian complaints mechanism to report any recruitment process among the components of the SDF and the internal security forces and other measures related to child protection. Accordingly, the Child Protection Office in Armed Conflict was established.
7- Training 243 officers and soldiers from the Syrian Democratic Forces and 176 officers from the internal security forces by the United Nations partners on the basic principles of international humanitarian law and publishing the action plan signed with the United Nations and the commitments of the Syrian Democratic Forces within the action plan.
8- Giving access to the United Nations and its international partners to the detention centers for children of ISIS families in Al-Hasakeh. (still in progress).
The Autonomous Administration of North and Eastern Syria, during the year 2019 and 2020, through cooperation and coordination with many countries, returned 186 women and 269 children from 20 different nationalities to their countries of origin, including: the Republic of Trinidad, Australia, the Russian Federation, France, Iraq, Denmark, Sweden, America, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Italy, Sudan, Norway, Germany, Britain, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan and Finland.)
15 Sep. 2020
SDF Media Center