Human Rights and Democracy 2014-15


This is one of 27 human rights priority countries included in the latest annual FCO Human Rights Report. Updates are published on the GOV.UK website every six months to highlight key human rights events in these countries, and to report on actions that the UK has taken.

Comments on the main report or updates can be made below. They will be monitored and moderated by staff at the Human Rights and Democracy Department at the FCO who will also try and answer as many questions as possible.

Read this section of the report on GOV.UK

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6 comments on “Syria

  1. Hi, thank you for the report. In the report it is written: ‘The COI reported that regime groups, Kurdish armed groups, and several armed opposition and extremist groups were responsible for the recruitment and use of children in combat and support roles, as well as conducting military operations including terror tactics, in civilian-populated areas’.

    That puts Kurdish groups in the users of terror tactics bracket.

    I wonder where you got information that Kurds were using ‘terror tactics’, and do you consider that it an on-going problem? Have you spoken with Saleh Muslim about this at all?

    In relation to children being used – I thought it had happened before when children offered to fight rather than as a recruiting action, but that this has stopped. Are you still getting such reports?


    1. FCO Human Rights says:

      Thank you for your email. In order to compile this report we used as many credible sources we can find. The COI is the most credible source we have for information on the various abuses and violations that are being committed on all sides. We are aware that child recruitment is a problem and that the YPG pledged on 5 July 2014 to abolish such practices and started to demobilise child soldiers from their ranks and had undertaken to monitor adherence to their commitments. However, the COI reported that accounts of recruitment of minors into the YPG were documented in Aleppo and Al Hasakah and in two separate incidents two 15 year old girls were recruited by the Women’s Protection Unit of the YPG in December 2014. Geneva Call also reported allegations made in October that child soldiers had been seen with YPG-YPJ forces and that they were investigating these claims. Another report mentions that there are many under 18’s fighting for the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish national army, and the Ashayish Forces. As you can appreciate it is very difficult to verify the information and we can only use what credible sources we have available to us. The issue of child recruitment was raised with Saleh Muslim while he was in the UK last week.

      To answer your point on ‘terror tactics’, the quote the COI has given didn’t distinguish between the groups and because of that we cannot be sure if it is referring to all groups or just some of them.

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  4. Merlyn Paulose says:

    Thank you for the report which is a great source of information of the wonderful life-saving and life-changing work the United Kingdom has been doing. I have one query- What had the United Kingdom been doing about the rights of Internally Displaced people, in Syria as well in other countries of the world?

    1. FCO Human Rights says:

      Thank you for your comment. In order to protect and promote the rights of internally displaced persons the UK works both multilaterally, through partners such as the UN, and where appropriate, bilaterally with countries with a large populations of IDPs. You may find this DFID note useful ( – it explains the UK response to the crisis in Syria.