Youth movement accused of kidnapping boy in Syria's Aleppo

Local sources in Aleppo told Kurdistan 24 that Ehmed Heysem Cafo was born in 2008 in the northwestern Kurdish region of Afrin.
author_image Kurdistan 24
Ehmed Heysem Cafo was allegedly kidnapped by the Revolutionary Youth Movement (Photo: Photo submitted to Kurdistan 24)
Ehmed Heysem Cafo was allegedly kidnapped by the Revolutionary Youth Movement (Photo: Photo submitted to Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Revolutionary Youth Movement has been accused of abducting a 14-year-old Kurdish boy in the Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo as he was leaving his school.

Local sources in Aleppo told Kurdistan 24 that Ehmed Heysem Cafo was born in 2008 in the northwestern Kurdish region of Afrin.

Moreover, a civilian named Hamrin Hebeş told Kurdistan 24 that her 17-year-old brother, Mihemed Zekeriye Hebeş, was also kidnapped by a group affiliated with the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) on June 13. His fate remains unknown.

She called on international organizations to pressure the AANES and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to secure her brother's release.

Kurdish forces control Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood. Many civilians from Afrin fled to the Sheikh Maqsoud after the Turkish Army and Turkish-backed armed groups invaded and occupied that northwestern enclave in 2018.

Twenty-three human rights, civil, and feminist organizations demanded that the AANES and SDF end the recruitment of child soldiers in northeast Syria in a jointly written letter released in May. 

Read More: 23 civil society organizations demand an end to child recruitment in northeast Syria

In 2019, the SDF signed an agreement with the UN to end the recruitment of children.

Several human rights organizations have accused the Revolutionary Youth Movement of child recruitment. On the other hand, the SDF has rarely been mentioned in these human rights reports. 

In a Jan. 13 report, the human rights organization Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) also accused the Revolutionary Youth Movement of recruiting 17 minors in northeastern Syria and Aleppo's northern countryside in October, November, and December.

According to STJ, the group "was established in 2011 and despite the founders' efforts to promote the group as an independent entity, it has been administratively affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD)."

Read More: Pro-PYD youth group continues to recruit minors: rights group