Children of Syria are not a new phenomenon.
The story of how they were recruited into the armed forces in the wake of the conflict has been told many times in history books, from the early days of the Ottoman Empire to the recent war in Libya and the Balkans.
According to a report from the International Crisis Group, the child soldiers of the country of Syria in the early 2000s, who were part of the Free Syrian Army, are estimated to number between 2.6 and 5 million, and were formed into rebel groups that were mainly composed of boys between the ages of six and 12.
In some cases, their military training and combat experience had been facilitated by Western countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom, France and Australia.
But the child-soldiers were also recruited by other groups in the conflict.
In some cases the child soldier was part of a wider group of young men that were recruited from the ranks of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian Kurdish militia that had been operating in northern Syria since 2014.
The child soldiers have been a source of fear for the United Nations, with many calling on the UN to intervene, and on Monday, the UN Security Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling for the UN’s mandate to intervene in Syria.
The resolution, however, will not have the support of Russia and China, which have been vocally against intervention.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the UN humanitarian agency also said that in recent months the number of child soldiers has grown exponentially.
UNICEF, which has helped in the reconstruction of some of the worst-hit areas, said in a statement on Tuesday that over 5,500 children were killed in 2016, and another 2,000 were wounded.
In the latest report from Syria’s United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), published on Monday morning, the number who had been recruited as child soldiers had risen to 7,936, up from 4,726 in 2016.
In that same year, the UNHCR said that there had been 1,638 child soldiers recruited, compared to 587 in 2015.
While there are no data on the actual number of children recruited as children in the war, the Syrian Arab Emergency Committee (SARC), a group representing about half of all Syrian rebel groups, has estimated that as many as 60,000 children have been recruited into rebel ranks.
UNICEF estimates that between 10 and 25 percent of Syrian children have received training from the conflict, which means they are at a higher risk of recruitment into the conflict than those who are recruited later in life.