Two U.N. reports last year documented the use of child soldiers by the YPG. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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The military wing of Syria's biggest Kurdish party employs child soldiers in its fight against Al-Qaeda in areas where abuses in detention and arbitrary arrests are also rife, an international watchdog says.In a report published today, Human Rights Watch accuses the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which in alliance with a number of smaller Kurdish parties declared self-rule over three enclaves in northeast Syria in January, of harassing and arbitrarily arresting political opponents while turning a blind eye to abductions and murders committed under its jurisdiction. However, HRW says that the PYD is failing to protect the basic rights of citizens, particularly political opponents and children, although it has taken some positive steps to enshrine individual rights through a new constitutional law.In the report, "Under Kurdish Rule: Abuses in Kurdish-run Enclaves of Syria," the watchdog documents cases of individuals charged with petty crimes who were attacked by the police force, known as the Asayish, and forced to confess under torture. Alongside abuses in prison for apparently minor crimes, arbitrary arrests of PYD political opponents are also common, HRW says.HRW interviewed several soldiers who said they were underage.
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