The parents of a child who was abducted in Afrin, Syria, by fighters belonging to the Samarkand Brigade demanded for news of their son’s health and that Turkey be held accountable for committing war crimes against civilians in Afrin.
In March, fighters belonging to the Samarkand Brigade, which is part of the so-called Syrian Turkmen Brigades backed by Turkey in Syria, kidnapped a fifteen-year-old boy from his home in the village of Rota in Afrin.
According to reports, on 15 April 2020, the boy was forced to go to Libya with his abductors, who had been deployed by Ankara to fight alongside the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
The parents of the child demanded that the international community investigate the fate of their kidnapped son, Naguib Sheikho.
His family also appealed to international organizations concerned with children’s rights to intervene immediately, holding Turkey accountable for war crimes against unarmed civilians in Afrin and involving children in wars in other countries.
According to Sheikho’s family members, some members of the Samarkand Brigade have turned Rota into their headquarters, using civilian houses as detention centers and torture camps.
Samarkand fighters allegedly kidnap civilians who have relatives in European countries, coercing them into sending money in exchange for the release of their relatives.
There have also been reports of looting and usurpation of property in the villages of Rota Sennara, Kafr Safra, and Hajj Hasna in Afrin.
Reports from locals and international humanitarian organizations have suggested that leaders in the Syrian Turkmen Brigades recruit children between the ages of 15 and 17 within areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
They are allegedly promised 3000 US dollars to be sent to training camps run by mercenaries, where they learn to wield and manage weapons.
The phenomenon of child recruitment has been reported amongst Syrian Turkmen, who are backed by Turkey in Syria, and ISIS affiliates in the Syrian conflict.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, many children have been sent on suicide operations against government forces, the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) and other civilian targets.