According to the Human Right Watch (HRW), the two militias in the Kurdish part of Iraq have been recruiting underage soldiers from a displaced people’s camp south of the city of Irbil, where some 35,000 people are estimated to be living.
“The recruitment of children as fighters for the Mosul operation should be a warning sign for the Iraqi government. The government and its foreign allies need to take action now, or children are going to be fighting on both sides in Mosul,” Bill Van Esveld, HRW’s senior children’s rights researcher, was quoted as saying in the statement.
Van Esvald also urged the United States to press Iraq to make sure there are no underage fighters within its army or militias that support the government.
According to HRW, Daesh terrorists, outlawed in many countries including the United States and Russia, have been extensively recruiting children into their ranks.
Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq with a population of 500,000 people, has been controlled by Daesh since 2014. Iraqi forces backed by Kurdish Peshmerga militia are currently preparing an assault to liberate the city.