ISIS recruits child soldiers at an increasing rate

By Olivia Rizzo 
Staff Writer 

In a video released on Friday, Aug. 26, by ISIS, five children around the age of 10 years old are shown standing behind kneeling prisoners dressed in orange jumpsuits. Moments later, the children, dressed in camouflage and black gloves, execute the prisoners, according to The Sun.

In addition to the prisoner execution footage, the nine-minute video also depicts graphic scenes of destruction across the ISIS-controlled territory of Raqqa, Syria, such as images of dead bodies and war-torn buildings, and features threats against world leaders, like President Barack Obama, according to The Sun.

The release of this latest video comes just days after Iraqi police interceded a child attempting to complete a suicide bombing mission for ISIS on Monday, Aug. 22. According to CNN, video footage depicts police carefully cutting away a belt loaded with explosives from a visibly upset boy in Kirkuk, Iraq. It is believed that the 15-year-old boy entered the city from the ISIS stronghold Mosul.

This occurred a day after another child soldier detonated a bomb in an attack at a Kurdish wedding in Turkey on Sunday, Aug. 21, which killed 54 people.

ISIS has recently been increasing its use of child soldiers on the front lines, particularly as a method in targeting civilians. The governor of Kirkuk Governorate, Najmaldin Karim, told CNN, “(ISIS tells) them if they do this, they will go to heaven and have a good time and get everything that they ever wanted.” The terrorist group maintains its child army by encouraging families to join its mission, kidnapping children and seizing schools, while promising free education.

Human Rights Watch reported that ISIS and similar terrorist groups, “have specifically recruited children through free schooling campaigns that include weapons training and have given them dangerous tasks, including suicide bombing missions.”

According to CNN, it is believed that the group uses threats, intimidation and exhausting endurance training to physically and emotionally break children down to make them comply with orders. These tactics involving children are of top concern to lawmakers and human rights advocates. Researchers who compiled an open source database of ISIS child propaganda estimate that approximately 1,500 child soldiers are training and fighting for the terror group, according to CNN.

Charlie Winter, co-founder of the database, told CNN, “This is something that, sadly, we have to expect to increase and accelerate, as the situation becomes more precarious for ISIS in the years to come.”