Terrorist group ISIS continues to startle the world with its use of child soldiers. According to new reports, the group has now established camps called “Cubs of the Caliphate” for young terrorists-in-training.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that 400 children have been recruited for the program.
In the camp, children as young as six years old learn combat techniques and are brainwashed with sharia courses. The Christian Post reports one camp assignment ordered children to take home a doll cover its face, a complete a beheading.
Charlie Winter, a counter-extremism research said that the children are not to be blamed for joining the jihadi training camps.
"I think to speak of children joining ISIS is not a good way to put it. Even if they have the perception of choice, it's not choice. If you're a minor and being indoctrinated from a very young age, you don't have the power to make a serious choice. I think that it's certainly worth considering more robustly that people are being groomed,” he said.
Another counter-terrorism researcher, Melanie Smith, said that ISIS relies heavily on children because they will not question the actions of the group.
She said, "I think it's part of children being the next generation. They've invested a lot in training these minors for them to become completely immersed in the ideology. Whereas adults might be more questioning, children are a very easy target. They are thinking of these children as their legacy."
The Christian Post reports that ISIS child soldiers will be expected to donate blood to adult militants, serve in combat roles, and be used as human shields and suicide bombers.
Publication date: March 26, 2015