The so-called “ Islamic State”(ISIS) is raising an army of child soldiers, and the West could be fighting them for the generations to come. This is a story has been written by KATE BRANNEN and published in Foreign Policy.
These children are young and could be only 6 years old, and they are being trained by IS to become the real soldiers. They are present during the public executions and tortures in Raqqa, IS stronghold, they work as informers giving the IS information about those who are disloyal or speak against IS. Their blood is used for blood transfusions for the injured IS fighters, they are also trained to become the soldiers and suicide bombers to serve the purposes of IS.
IS has a well organized and well functioning recruiting system providing them all the time with the new young soldiers destined to be the future of IS. The militants prepare for the long fight against the West, training those children, teaching them the basic fighting skills and implementing their doctrine and beliefs in their young minds, spreading their fundamentalist, radical teaching.
There are no exact and accurate numbers of the children involved in those practices and recruited by IS, but the stories and evidences presented by the eyewitnesses and numerous refugees suggest that this practice becomes really widespread on the territory of Syria and Iraq, currently held by the IS fighters.
It’s worth mentioning that child soldiers are not new to the war, they were used often during many wars, including numerous African conflicts. Children are easier to manipulate and to impose the necessary doctrine as they are young and often lack experience, moral compasses, so they are easy to manipulate.
Though the young soldiers of IS pose a real threat to the region and to the whole world. They are young, they are far away from their homes, families and they are totally cut from their normal way of life. Instead of that they absorb radical fundamentalist propaganda, aimed to dehumanize others and to persuade these children of the nobility of fighting for their faith.
“[The Islamic State] deliberately deny education to the people who are in the territory under their control, and not only that, they brainwash them,” said Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who’s tasked with thinking about future threats and planning for the Army’s future. “They engage in child abuse on an industrial scale. They brutalize and systematically dehumanize the young populations. This is going to make this a multigenerational problem.” – Foreign Police quote.
Ivan Simonowic, UN Assistant Secretary General for human rights, came back recently from his trip to Iraq, where he visited several refugees camps and interviewed many displaced Iraqi and Syrian people, who fled spread of IS. Mr. Simonovic stressed the danger of spreading the Islamist radical ideology in the region and the “large and dangerously successful recruitment program” of IS.
The local news source, Syria Deeply, reports that the boys, who volunteer for IS or who are abducted by the IS militants, are being sent to the various religious and militant training camps, depending on their age, where they are taught everything starting with the specific interpretation of Shari’a Law and ending with the skills of using the weapons and even beheading other people.
In addition to that children also participate in the battles, being used as the human shields. Children, dressed in the IS uniform, also patrol the cities, controlled by IS, and help with arresting the locals.
UN human rights mission stated earlier in its report about the documented cases of 12 and 13 year old children undergoing military training organized by ISIL in Mosul, Raqqa and other cities controlled by the Islamic State. And the numbers of the young IS fighters recruited by the IS are drastically increasing.
Due to the extremely dangerous situation in the region there are really little people who are currently in the cities held by the IS fighters and who have the chance to contribute photos and information about IS brutality and of what’s going on in the cities.
Thus, in many children and teenagers in Raqqa were recruited and trained by IS and participated in the battles on the IS side, including the long and violent Kobani battle with the Kurdish fighters. US and coalition aircrafts bombed the area more than 135 times killing hundreds of militants.
Due to the poverty in Raqqa and many other cities IS militants openly offer the families or even the children themselves money for serving in the IS army. There is a large network of training camps for the child soldiers set up in the region, training hundreds of children.
Sometimes the boys are being forced to become the fighters. For example, many members of the Yazidi families, who fled the IS violence, reported that some of their boys were abducted by the IS militants and taken to those training camps.
In addition to that IS has started successful online campaign for recruiting the new members, including many Europeans and Americans, who were radicalized online and decided to join ISIS.
Thus, the tendency is growing, posing a real threat to the region and to the Western countries as well, as they will face Islamist extremism in the nearest future and could be fighting it for the generations to come.