In recent months, Houthi supervisors have pressured families in Dhamar to send their children to lectures and teaching programs in preparation for war

Houthis lure marginalized youth in Dhamar to the frontlines

For the fifth year in a row, the Houthis continue to recruit hundreds of teenagers and young children from Dhamar governorate in central Yemen to shore up their military forces.  

The Houthis have attracted dozens of youth from marginalized families in Dhamar city and its vicinity in central Yemen, indoctrinating them with sectarian and cultural propaganda to prepare them for the frontlines against Saudi coalition-backed government forces, human rights sources told Almasdar Online.

After several field visits to marginalized communities in Dhamar neighborhoods including Qahar and Roma, Houthi supervisors pressured families to send their children to the rebels’ lectures and teaching programs.

A Human rights activist and lawyer who spoke to Almasdar Online on condition of anonymity said that the Houthis have recruited dozens of people from the governorate in the past few months and transferred them to training camps in the Wadi Al-Harr and Al-Awesha areas of Al-Hada and Anes districts.

The activist said that since June 2019, 143 children recruited by the Houthis have died while fighting on the frontlines. The most recent death was of a 14-year old, Saleh Abdullah Jawhar, who was lured along with a group of his friends by the Houthi supervisor Yassin Ghaithan Saif Al-Samawi to fight in the war. A few days later, they were all killed, according to the activist.

Houthis have succeeded in recruiting hundreds of disenfranchised people using various tactics, including intimidation, financial exploitation and threats. A senior Houthi military official told the AP last year that the rebels have inducted 18,000 child soldiers into their ranks since the beginning of Yemen’s war in 2014. 

"When those young recruits join the Houthi frontlines, they find themselves at the bottom of the group leader’s concerns, often thrown on the frontlines and abandoned when they are injured. They find themselves either dead or captured by government forces," the activist said.



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