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Turkey-backed mercenary gangs commit war crimes

ALAN DAWOOD

AL-TABQA-  A child dissident splitting from Turkey-backed mercenaries controlling the area from Jarablus city to Azaz city north of Syria and reaching al-Bab, said that the mercenary gangs are recruiting children and minors less than 17 years old assuring that Ahrar al-Raqqa mercenaries were conflicting on power and internal rows increased among them.

Hamza Abdul Hamid al-Sheikh a child at 14 escaped al-Tabqa city in the beginning of the battles, Hamza and his family escaped Azaz in order to cross the borders and head to Turkey, after many unsuccessful attempts, he had to join the mercenary gangs supported by the Turkish state in the occupied areas in al-Shahba north of Syria.

Turkey had occupied the area stretching from Jarablus to Azaz in August, 24, 2016, amid Russian and American silence under the pretext of fighting Islamic State, but many reports assured then that most of these Turkey-backed gangs’ commanders are Daesh dissidents.

Hamza whose major goal to join was gaining money was exploited by the gangs to recruit children under 14.

the child was a member of Ahrar al-Tabqa Squad and he split with others handing themselves over to Syrian Democratic Forces which managed to liberate al-Tabqa city and Euphrates Dam in May 10 after 50 daylong clashes.

As usual, the child was deceived by promises like liberating al-Tabqa, al-Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor by the mercenary gangs, though these gangs have never fought IS and seized most of al-Shahba by give and take operations.

Muhamad who was supervising security of Ahrar al-Tabqa headquarters in Azaz city said that the mercenary gangs do not mind recruiting children assuring that dozens of minors are fighting and holding arms without any real military training.

Recruiting children under 15 is prohibited by the international law and according to customs and treaties, it is also considered a war crime by the international criminal court.

Hamza pointed out that the mercenary gang undertaking training operations in these areas is Ahrar al-Sham which is al-Qaeda’s affiliate declared in 2011.

Every now and then, the occupied areas by the Turkey-backed mercenary gangs are witnessing violent clashes where the civilians are usually victims.

Hamza also said” these clashes and personal rows over authority pushed me to split and return home.

J.O

ANHA