An Iranian television (IRIB news) channel broadcast a video on Saturday, November 25, in which a 13-year-old child soldier speaks about being sent to Syria to fight, while another gunman next to the child says he is “the youngest child fighter.”
The Iranian regime sent thousands of children into battle during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) using them as disposable soldiers. It was widely believed that children were no longer being used as soldiers by the Islamic Republic. However, the report revealed that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is actively recruiting Iranian children to fight in the Syrian war and elsewhere.
A report by Human Rights Watch called for an investigation into the recruitment of children into Syria by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, calling on the international community and the United Nations to open an investigation into the issue and to add Iran to the annual list of perpetrators of child abuse.
It is imperative to hold accountable as war criminals those responsible for the recruitment of children for wars . The Iranian authorities have been boasting on television about how proud they are to send child recruits to Syria. Reports are conflicting with some saying that there are children as young as 14 being recruited, but in one television interview a young boy claiming to be only 13 spoke about his experience.
The child interviewed by Iranian TV told reporters that he is 13 years old and is fighting for the Assad regime in the Syrian city of Abu Kamal along with IRGC forces. The boy is from Mazandaran province in northern Iran. Iranian TV reported he is the youngest Iranian soldier in the war.
Whatever the age, it is very clear that the situation is a war crime and that the young children should be experiencing life at school, not at war abroad.
In addition, Western media reports confirm that Afghani children were also recruited by the IRGC.
A report by Human Rights Watch said the child soldiers are fighting in an Afghani Shiite militia called Fatemiyoun Brigade, formed in 2014 by IRGC. It is reportedly funded and equipped by IRGC and fights under the command of IRGC officers.