By: Amjad Othman
A number of activists and media sites circulated a report published by what is known as the Syrian Network for Human Rights, where the network briefly addressed the content of the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations submitted to the Security Council (seventy-fourth session) on children and armed conflict, the network report focused on items related to Syrian affairs.
It is important to emphasize the importance of this report and the importance of figures relating to violations affecting children, which we must actually do what must do and can do to end the suffering of Syrian children, which expresses the most tragic picture in the scenes of Syrian suffering.
The main headline circulated by some activists and media sites was, “The SDF is the worst party to the conflict in Syria in terms of child recruitment and use of schools and hospitals for military purposes.”
Upon our audit of the original copy of the report of Mr. Antonio Guterres dated July 9, 2020 and kept on the official website of the United Nations, it became clear that the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which formed the direct source of the activists and some of the media, had ignored many of the important points mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General, and the report was divided and used phrases not included in the report as well, but rather made their own conclusions and formulated them to put them in the service of orientation that appear to be politicized, unfair and far from professional, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations did not mention in his report at all that the SDF is “the worst party to the conflict“.
Rather, the Secretary-General clearly indicates that within the framework of the action plan signed in June 2019 with the SDF, 51 girls have been released.
At the end of the section on Syrian affairs, and after the figures mentioned about the violations targeting children by all parties to the conflict, and in Article 181 the Secretary-General says:
“I welcome the commitment of the SDF to the action plan signed in June 2019 with my Special Representative and the progress made in its implementation, in particular the issuance of a military order reiterating the prohibition of child recruitment, establishing an implementation committee, training 100 leaders, appointing senior coordinators, releasing 30 children in 2019 and 51 girls in early 2020, as well as dismissal of 18 boys were looking forward to release them officially. I also welcome the access of the United Nations child protection partners to Huri Center in Hasakah, which mainly includes Syrian children who were previously associated with the Islamic State as a “cubs of the caliphate” and I noted that the start of the Spring of Peace Operation in October 2019 affected the implementation of the action plan. “
Prior to that, the Secretary-General also clearly indicates that the Spring
of peace operation has caused (65) cases of killing and maiming of children, (6) attacks on schools, and (3) incidents of denying access to humanitarian aid.
At the end of the report, the Secretary-General excludes the SDF from among the parties that did not take measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children, while he names all parties that have not committed to the measures necessary to protect children, and states them as follows:
Government forces, including the National Defense Forces and pro-government militias
In addition to
1– Ahrar al-Sham movement
2- Syrian armed opposition groups, formerly known as the Free Syrian Army
3-The Islamic State in Iraq and Levant
4- Army of Islam
5- Liberation of Al-Sham Authority, led by Jabhat Al-Nusra
In paragraph B, the Secretary-General reminds the listed parties that, during the reporting period, measures have been taken to improve the protection of children, which is the only party in Syria, and he mentions it by name:Kurdish People’s Protection Units (People’s Protection Units, Women’s Protection Units).
It was also remarkable in the report that article 242 touched on amendments to terms and names of parties, as they resulted from changes on the ground, and it aims to clarify the name of the parties more accurately.
As the Secretary-General says, “In the Syrian Arab Republic, groups that attribute themselves to the Free Syrian Army are now listed under the name of the Syrian armed opposition groups (formerly known as the Free Syrian Army).”
That is, the United Nations will no longer use the designation of the Free Army because of what it described as changes on the ground and to name the parties more accurately, in the words of the Secretary-General.
For more information, the Secretary-General’s report can be read on the official website of the United Nations.