Syria, and specifically the towns of Maart al Numan and Kafrouma in the Idlib countryside, have witnessed a concerning trend of child recruitment into armed factions. This trend has been reported locally and by UNICEF and other international organizations. The Day after is currently conducting work on the ground to actively combat this concerning problem. TDA communicators have been working for the past several months in Maarat al-Numan and Kafrouma in the Idlib countryside to promote their campaign “Children are not soldiers.”
In the first phase of this campaign TDA communicators conducted surveys to find out the leading cause of child recruitment. The main finding was that discontinued access to schooling and the deteriorating economic situation due to the effects of war made children vulnerable to recruitment. To respond to this finding meetings were held with school teachers and administrators to find solutions, and ensure continued education despite the extreme challenges of war. Literature and campaign posters were also distributed and plastered all throughout the area to raise awareness of this problem, and to try and prevent and stop it. As a result of the campaign, Free Syrian Army factions in the region issued a response vowing not to place any children under the age of 18 within their ranks. The problem still remains, however, throughout various other fighting groups; the campaign intends to maintain pressure, raise awareness of this problem, and prevent conditions that make children vulnerable to recruitment, despite being unable to control the actions of less cooperative armed groups.