Hundreds of children are incarcerated in adult prisons in northeastern Syria, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday, disclosing their plight as inmates for the first time.
The children, mostly boys, have been removed to prisons from al-Hol, a desert camp run by Syrian Kurdish forces for 60,000 people from more than 60 countries, the aid agency said. Most are women and children who fled there after Islamic State’s last enclaves collapsed two years ago.
Local authorities have said that many are associated with Islamic State fighters.
“Hundreds of children, mostly boys, some as young as 12, are detained in adult prisons, places they simply do not belong,” Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Middle East, told a news briefing.
The ICRC made 36 visits to places of detention across Syria last year, the only agency with such access. It requires private talks with inmates on their treatment and conditions, but its confidential findings are shared only with the authorities.