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Syrian Opposition Army Pledges to Protect Children in Conflict

The Syrian National Army signed an action plan with the UN, committing to end the recruitment, use, killing, and maiming of children.
Syrian Opposition Army Pledges to Protect Children in Conflict

 In a significant step towards safeguarding children in Syria, the Syrian National Army (SNA), including Ahrar al-Sham and Army of Islam, signed an action plan with the United Nations. This plan commits the group to end the recruitment, use, killing, and maiming of children during the ongoing conflict.

The action plan falls under the framework of Security Council Resolution 1539 (2004) and subsequent resolutions aimed at protecting children during armed conflict. Signing for the SNA were Hasan Alhamada, Amer al-Sheikh (Ahrar al-Sham), and Mohammed Walid Dowara (Army of Islam), while Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, represented the UN.

This pledge comes after the inclusion of the SNA, including Ahrar al-Sham and the Army of Islam, in the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict due to documented instances of child recruitment and violence. The agreement extends to any future factions joining or leaving the SNA.

“This is an important step towards better protecting Syria’s children, who continue bearing the brunt of the consequences of 13 years of armed conflict,” said Virginia Gamba. While acknowledging the positive development, Gamba emphasized the crucial role of complete implementation in ensuring tangible results.

The signing marks the culmination of years of collaboration between the UN and the SNA. The Special Representative commended child protection partners working in Syria, highlighting the dire situation children face in the ongoing conflict.

Gamba further stressed the importance of action plans as a tool for engaging with parties to the conflict, a strategy employed by the Children and Armed Conflict mandate since 2003. Ultimately, a political solution, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), remains the most sustainable path toward ending all grave violations against children in Syria.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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