June 30, 2013
President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday issued law no. 11 for 2013 which adds a new article to the penal code to cover involving children in combat activities.
The new article stipulates for a penalty of a sentence of penal labor for 10-20 years and a fine of SYP 1-3 million to individuals who recruit a child under 18 for the purpose of involving them in combat activities or other related activities.
The sentence is extended to of penal labor for life if the recruitment results in a permanent disability to the child or of the child suffers sexual assault or is given narcotics or any mind-influencing substances, and the sentence is extended to the death penalty if the child dies.
The updated penal code punishes everyone who recruits a child under 18 for the purposes for involving them in combat activities, carrying and transporting weapons or equipment or ammunition, planting explosions, standing watch at checkpoints or carrying out surveillance or reconnaissance, acting as a distraction or human shield, or assisting or serving the perpetrators in any way or form.
The penal code now punishes those who force another person to have intercourse through violence or threats with a life sentence of penal labor, and the punishment becomes the death sentence if the crime is against someone under 15 and/or if the crime is carried out with the victim at gunpoint.