Le Point: Turkish backed Syrian rebel groups recruiting minors to fight alongside GNA forces in Libya

Alwasat - Cairo Wed 27 May 2020, 02:18 PM
alwasat radio

The weekly French political magazine Le Point reported on Tuesday that for the first time recognized experts have documented "the recruitment of minors in Libya" since the beginning of the war in 2014.

The French magazine, in a report, based on the results of the investigations of the non-governmental organization "Syrians for Truth and Justice" based in France and with the support of various European agencies, collected many testimonies in Syria and Libya which raised some mystery about the methods of "Syrian militias loyal to Turkey."

According to sources, "children recruited by factions in the coalition of Turkish-backed rebel groups are currently fighting in Libya," alongside with the Government of National Accord (GNA).

According to the estimates of observers and diplomats, Turkey has sent between 2,000 and 4,000 Syrian fighters to the Libyan front since the beginning of the year, while the share of minors is still likely limited, these recruits are organized and trained by many Syrian rebel groups.

According to the newspaper, at least 25 children were trained to fight in Libya by one of Ankara's main allies in northern Syria, the “Al-Mu'tasim Division.”

The Syrian armed groups avoid drawing attention by forging the identity documents of these child soldier, falsifying places of residence and birth dates and registered them with Syrian National Army under a pseudonym.

According to a fighter from the "Sultan Murad Division" sent to western Libya last February, at least five children were part of his group that included about twenty soldiers.

The transportation of child combatants is in itself a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is a United Nations protocol signed by Turkey as well as Syria and Libya.

European Union spokesman Peter Stano said that he has been seeking for two months to put "all those involved in the conflict before the reality of international law, adding those who violate it will be held accountable."

A source from Libya's GNA responded to Le Point that "Haftar is the one who sends minors to fight, not the GNA" denying the accusations of the Syrian NGO.

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