France’s first air strike in Syria was alleged to have killed at least 30 child soldiers of Islamic State, according to reports.
The attack – which France later declared was a five-hour raid by multiple aircraft on a ‘Daesh training camp’ – targeted among other sites a palm grove at Al Shalkha, near the town of Jala’a.
Al Mayadeen cited a ‘senior source’ who alleged that five French Rafale aircraft “targeted a camp of so-called ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ aged between 14 and 18 years, killing fifty of them.” The source added that the deaths “have raised the ire and wrath of local people towards Daesh. for forcing their children to attend training camps.”
According to the Syrian Observatory, not all of those killed were child soldiers with the dead also including “Arab fighters from North Africa and Syrian, and Iraqi fighters.” ISIL had been recruiting child soldiers in the areas it occupied since the start of 2015 reported SOHR: “They are ‘adults and are responsible for their decisions’, as the organization puts it.”
Asked to clarify the status of child soldiers according to the laws of war, Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Oxford, told Airwars: “With regard to child soldiers, the fact that they are children will not change the law regarding whether they can be targeted. If they are members of an organized armed group or taking direct part in hostilities they can be targeted – even if they are doing this against the wishes of their families (or even against their own wishes).”
In their monthly civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition has indicated that the credibility of this civilian harm allegation is in the process of being assessed.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (4) [ collapse]
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Original strike reports
France has confirmed carrying out a complex air raid near Dayr az Zawr on September 27th 2015: “Le 27 septembre 2015, les aéronefs de l’opération Chammal ont mené un raid aérien contre un camp d’entraînement de Daech situé dans la vallée de l’Euphrate, au Sud de Deir Ez Zor. Il s’agit d’une frappe délibérée sur un objectif reconnu préalablement. Nos renseignements recoupés avec ceux de la coalition ont clairement établi que ce camp est occupé et actif.”