Home Latest News Islamic State Has Trained Hundreds of Child Soldiers

Islamic State Has Trained Hundreds of Child Soldiers

by AFP
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Syrian monitor says there could be over 400 ‘Cubs of the Caliphate.’

The Islamic State group has trained more than 400 children in Syria as fighters in 2015 alone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said Tuesday.

Calling them “Cubs of the Caliphate,” the jihadist group provides intense military and religious training to children throughout its areas of control in Syria, the Britain-based monitor said. Sleek videos published by I.S.-affiliated accounts show boys—some appearing to be as young as eight years old—loading and firing guns and crawling through sandy brush as part of military training. The footage also shows children gathered around a table studying religious texts.

Once the boys turn 15, they are given the option to become full-fledged fighters with salaries, said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman. “I.S. officials try to woo children with money, weapons and teaching them how to drive cars,” he said.

He said the children aren’t forced to fight, but “since there are no [non-I.S.] schools, no work, this is what kids do during the day.”

The child soldiers are often used to man checkpoints or to gather intelligence from areas outside I.S. control, as children can typically pass unnoticed through these neighborhoods, Abdel Rahman said. But some children are recruited for more violent purposes.

A video released by I.S. this month depicted a boy, who appeared to be no more than 12, executing a hostage by shooting him several times with a pistol. Abdel Rahman said I.S. had already used at least 10 children as suicide bombers in Syria and had put together all-child battle units. “This is exploitation and clear brainwashing,” he said.

The Islamic State group is not alone in using child soldiers in Syria, but it seems to be the group doing so most openly. “What is striking is they’re not hiding it, they’re flaunting it,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Their use of child soldiers is part of a broader indoctrination effort… They keep talking about how they’ll be the new generation.”

Syria’s conflict began in March 2011 with peaceful demonstrations, but descended into a civil war that has killed more than 215,000 people. According to the U.N., more than 2.1 million children in Syria are no longer able to attend school due to the violence.

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1 comment

Raazia Syed March 25, 2015 - 2:21 pm

As a researcher in a tv channel , i read many stories on middle east crisis daily ….it is dilemma of our Arab countries that they are not sincere to their public , they are not aware of good governance , so that u can notice the situation of syria , Iraq , Libya , Yemen and Egypt , secondly some middle east countries have dual faces one side they support these Muslim countries and if u look at the other side the situation is entirely different . here we can take examples of UAE, Saudi Arbiya , and turkey ……….thirdly america and united kingdom has established this so called Islamic organisation , and when it became danger for them they want to eliminate them now , as most of the members of this organisation are Jews ….this organisation is not Islamic because these are not preachings of Islam to kill innocent people , to disgrace women , to tease and torture humanity , so the only solution of these problems is that all middle east country should face this situation unitedly and raise voice against it ………beyond their benefits and interests .


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