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Protests in eastern Syria over alleged kidnap of children by SDF

PROTESTS have taken place in eastern Syria over the alleged kidnap of two children by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

People from the towns of al-Izba and al-Tayana in the Der Ezzor countryside took to the streets after the two 13-year olds were taken, demanding their immediate release, amid fears and accusations of forced recruitment to the SDF ranks.

“Armed groups belonging to SDF militia kidnapped two children from the town of al-Tayana, taking them to compulsory recruitment camps,” local sources said. 

A demonstration saw roads blocked and burning tyres in both towns calling for the end of the US occupation and for SDF militia to leave the area. 

The SDF rejects claims of the forced recruitment of children, insisting that it is sticking to an agreement signed with the United Nations regarding the practice in 2019. 

But the UN said last year that it had documented at least 160 cases of children placed in armed combat roles since the accord was signed, with accusations of kidnappings of young girls. 

The SDF had not responded to the Morning Star’s request for comment at the time of publishing.

Tensions remain high with Turkey threatening to invade northern Syria to create an 18-mile buffer zone to protect it from what it claims is a terrorist threat from the SDF which it deems an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Both Syria and Russia have advised Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against such a move, warning that any invasion will be repelled by the Syrian Arab Army. 

US occupying forces are reported to have told SDF commander Mazlum Abdi to cut all ties with the PKK, warning him they would remove him from his post if not.

Mr Abdi represents the pro-US wing of the Kurdish movement, calling for an increased troop presence in areas under SDF control.

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