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On FSA Child Soldiers, ICP Asks Zerroughui, Raised in DC, US Waiver?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 1 -- The UN's envoy on Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerroughui on July 1 took questions about her most recent report, on which Inner City Press reported on May 14, including the ten paragraphs over three pages about Syria.

  Since then, the US Obama Administration has announced a plan for $500 million to the "vetted" Syrian opposition: presumably, the "Free Syrian Army."

  As to this Free Syrian Army the UN report states that "most children associated with the FSA-affiliated group, as young as 14 years, indicated that they had received weapons training and 4,000 to 8,000 Syrian pounds pay per month.

   Examples are given: "a 17 year-old boy who joined the al-Murabiteen battalion of the Falloujat Houran FSA brigade in Bosra al-Sham, Dara'a Governate, reportedly received a fifteen-day weapons training in al-Lajat valley close to Bosra al-Sham."

  Also, "In June 2013, two brothers, aged 16 and 17, joined the FSA-affiliated Majd al-Islam brigade in Dara'a, where they cleaned weapons and performed security duties."

 So on July 1, Inner City Press asked Zerroughui about the FSA. She said “we put 'FSA and affilaited groups,' because some groups at not entirely under the control of the FSA, but they are not distancing themselves from the FSA.”

 Inner City Press asked Zerroughui is she'd raised this to the US. “Yes, I did with the US, I visiting Washington and raised the issue, the Child Act was discussed.”

That's the US 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act, which provides for example:

It is the sense of Congress that—

 (1) the United States Government should condemn the conscription, forced recruitment, or use of children by governments, paramilitaries, or other organizations;

 (2) the United States Government should support and, to the extent practicable, lead efforts to establish and uphold international standards designed to end the abuse of human rights described in paragraph (1);

  There are prohibitions on funding which can only be overridden for formal, public findings in a waiver by the President. Would or will that be used in this case? Watch this site.


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