The Islamic State has carried out its first beheading using a child as an executioner. Its latest grisly clip shows a boy around 10 beheading an Assad-regime pilot.
The video, entitled The Capture and Assassination of the Nusayri Captain opens with a graphic indicating the location: Homs. It is a sign of the Islamic State’s film sophistication that they use different opening titles depending on the location of the film.
The pilot gives a short summary of his life and career as an a air force captain in Bashar al-Assad’s forces, before he is shown in an orange jumpsuit kneeling, awaiting his death.
A bearded jihadist gives a short speech threatening “Our goal is not only Palmyra or Homs or Damascus, rather our goal is to conquer Bayt al- Maqdes [Jerusalem] and Rome, God willing.”
The boy then takes his knife and beheads the prisoner, showing no mercy or compunction about the killing.
This is not the first time ISIS has used children as executioners. Known as the ‘cubs of the Caliphate’ the children of the Islamic State are training and indoctrinated in special camps with the stated goal of producing the next generation of jihadists. Children were used to shoot groups of captured regime soldiers in Palmyra, in a staged mass execution in the old roman amphitheater.
Footage has also just come to light of a 10-year-old boy taking part in last year’s massacre in Tikrit, during which some 1,600 captured Iraqi soldiers were shot and their bodies dumped in the Tigris or buried in mass graves.
The indoctrination of children is a key element in the Islamic State’s strategy. By having them perform these horrific acts at such a young age, ISIS cements its hold over their minds.
Warning, extremely graphic footage: