Prevent to Protect: Early Warning, Child Soldiers, and the Case of Syria

in Global Responsibility to Protect
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The war currently raging in Syria is without a doubt the most serious failure of the r2p paradigm. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been brutally killed while the world has looked on, largely unable to affect events on the ground. The use of child soldiers by all sides in the conflict has been well documented, and the authors’ previous work has demonstrated the importance of the recruitment and use of child soldiers as an early warning indicator. Yet, the world has consistently failed to act preventatively, and this is most notable in the case of Syria. This paper takes the Syrian war as a case study to examine how the recruitment and use of child soldiers can serve as an early warning indicator of mass atrocities and be used to help prevent conflict escalation.

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