Ahmed Al-Qurashi, head of the Seyaj NGO that works to protect children in Yemen, said there were two main reasons that children agreed to fight.

“Some of the children are persuaded to join the militias under the pretext of jihad and this is applicable particularly to the Houthis and Muslim Brotherhoods,” he said. “[For others] during conflicts, people lose their livelihood sources, so children find themselves compelled to provide for their families.”

Sadiq, 14, fits into the first category. He said he joined the Houthis during clashes in the western city of Amran in July as he believes the group is fighting against America and Israel and their supporters in Yemen. Last week the American embassy base was ransacked following the withdrawal of its staff from the country.

“I joined Ansar Allah because they are fighting to free Yemen from the occupiers,” he said. He also insisted he was not being paid.

Al-Qurashi added that most of the children recruited are from areas where armed conflict is common such as Marib, Sa’ada, Al-Baidha, Aljawf, and Amran. He added, however, that recently militias – particularly the Houthis – have also started recruiting children from coastal and desert areas.

Lwa’e Al-Shami, a spokesman for the Houthis……

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