Free Syrian Army Commits to Work with the United Nations to End and Prevent Recruitment and Use of Children

New York - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict welcomes the commitment by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to end and prevent the recruitment of children under 18.

In a communiqué annexed to a letter sent to the UN Security Council and made public yesterday, the Coalition and the Supreme Military Council pledged to issue command orders to FSA units banning the recruitment and use of children and to enforce disciplinary measures against child recruiters.

“The real work begins now,” said Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. “This is an encouraging first step and it is of the utmost importance that this commitment is followed by concrete actions to ensure the protection of the children of Syria.”

The Free Syrian Army has expressed its readiness to collaborate with the United Nations to develop an action plan detailing concrete measures and activities to end and prevent underage recruitment, as well as other grave violations against children.

The Coalition and the Supreme Military Council of the FSA condemned the deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals and announced that they will work with the United Nations to end the military use of schools and hospitals and protect them from attack.

The Special Representative stands ready to continue to support the efforts of the Coalition to end and prevent violations against children and encourages them to reach out to United Nations partners in New York and in the field.

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Background:
The Free Syrian Army and affiliated brigades have been listed for the recruitment and use of children in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict since 2013. They are one of six parties currently listed for grave violations against children in Syria.

For more information please contact:

Stephanie Tremblay, Communications officer,
Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict,
Tel: +1 212 963-8285
Mobile: +1 917 288-5791
tremblay@un.org

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