Over the last three months the Islamic State has recruited some 400 child soldiers, according to a Syrian monitor group.
It calls them the ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ thematically in keeping with the styling of its adult army as the ‘lions of ISIS.’
Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported the child recruitment, said “They use children because it is easy to brainwash them. They can build these children into what they want, they stop them from going to school and send them to IS schools instead.”
He speculated that child recruitment may stem from difficulties in recruiting adults to join the organization.
The Islamic State has been training children since at least year. In August 2014 Vice News interviewed children who were being indoctrinated into Islamic State ideology inside Syria as part of their documentary on the Islamic State. An ISIS member tasked with running the children’s camp told the reporter “For us, we believe that this generation of children is the generation of the caliphate. This generation will fight the infidels and apostates, the Americans and their allies, God willing. The right doctrine has been implanted in these children.”
In November the self-declared Caliphate released a propaganda video showing the training of children from Kazakhstan, whose fathers had immigrated to the Islamic State to join its army and wage jihad.
The 14 minute film, entitled ‘Race Towards Good,’ closes with a boy around the age of eight-ten reciting verses from the Quran for the camera before declaring "right now we're training in the camp. We're going to kill you O kuffar. Inshallah we will slaughter you."
Pictures and film put out by ISIS since then claim that a child army is being trained in Raqqa at the ‘Al-Farouq Institute for Cubs’ which the group claims is a camp giving boys military training and religious education as well as indoctrination into the group’s extreme worldview.
Child soldiers have reportedly been deployed on the battlefield by the Islamic State. A child was used in one of the group’s execution videos, shooting an Israeli-Arab in the back of the head whom they accused of being a Mossad spy.