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US-sponsored militants abduct Syrian minors in Raqqah, move them to their barracks

This file picture shows US-sponsored militants affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in an unknown location in Dayr al-Zawr, Syria. (Photo by AFP)

Militants affiliated with the Kurdish-led and so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have reportedly abducted dozens of teenagers in Syria’s northern province of Raqqah, and moved them to their own barracks for training, as the US-backed militants continue to loot natural resources and public assets in the areas under their control.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that the SDF members raided the city of al-Thawrah, also known as al-Tabqah and located approximately 55 kilometers (34 miles) west of Raqqa, on Friday, and rounded up at least 45 teenagers between 14 and 16 years of age, and moved them to Ayed al-Jazeera camp.

The US-sponsored militants then transported the minors to al-Sadd military barracks in the city of Manbij on separate occasions to avoid suspicion.

The sources added that the teenagers will receive military training for a nine-month period at the barracks, and will be given fake identity and personal information for fear of international inspections into underage recruitment and use of children in hostilities and armed conflict. 

The development comes as security conditions have been deteriorating in the SDF-controlled areas in Syria’s northern and northeastern provinces of Raqqah, Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr.

Local Syrians complain that the SDF’s constant raids have generated a state of frustration and instability, severely affecting their businesses and livelihood.

Residents accuse the US-sponsored militants of stealing crude oil and refusing to spend money on service sectors.

Local councils affiliated with the SDF also stand accused of financial corruption.

Back in September last year, US-backed SDF militants stormed the al-Hawl refugee camp in the northeastern Syrian province of al-Hasakah, and prevented the entry of food stuff highly needed for thousands of people stranded at the camp.

SANA reported at the time that the development took place only a day after more than 25 minors suffered nausea and breathing difficulties after they were apparently given various doses of sleeping pills to be smuggled out of the refugee camp to a training camp run by the SDF militants.

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