According to a Syrian rights monitor, the number of children recruited by the Islamic State in Syria since the beginning of 2015 reaches 400.
On Tuesday March 24, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights organization based in Britain stated that the Sunni Muslim group’s strategy consists of recruiting children in areas near mosques and schools or around public places where executions by stoning, beheading or crucifixion are usually held to punish those who do not comply.
Rami Abdulrahman, the head of SOHR, explained that it is easier with children as they can be brainwashed in no time. The militants can shape them to become whatever they want. The children stop going to school, they are sent to IS schools instead.
Another strategy possibly used to recruit children consists of bribing the parents so they would hand over their sons who then are sent to military camps where they learn aspects of Sharia, an Islamic religious law which the IS practices. The new recruits are also taught how to use weapons and are trained in the “art” of combat, teaching them how to kill.
The group is trying to teach those children that violence and murder are normal. They do this by brainwashing them from an early age with the help of IS schools and training camps.
Various recordings were released, showing the results of such trainings. These videos depict the so-called “cubs of the caliphate” training in camps or even killing hostages.
In February, the terror monitors SITE Intelligence Group declared that IS sent flyers regarding the groups’ new English language schools opened for children of foreign fighters in the Syrian city Raqqa. The flyers were reported in the same week the IS released a video of trainings held at the Raqqa camp. In the footage, boys as young as 4 or 5 years old can be seen while doing synchronized drills.
The United Nations stated that although it couldn’t verify the exact number of children recruited between January and March 23 the agency will continue to observe the phenomenon.
Juliette Touma, Syria crisis spokeswoman for UNICEF stated that the most concerns are in regards to the teenagers between the ages of 12 to 18 as they are “more vulnerable to recruitment and used in combat”.
Image Source: NBC News