Life After ISIS: What About the Children?

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A child from Mosul, Iraq displaced by the war
A child from Mosul, Iraq displaced by the war (Photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

As children are being pulled out of the rubble in Mosul, rescue workers are trying to find clues as to who are the children’s parents.

A three-year old girl, trapped for days, could only reply that her parents had become “martyrs.” The girl is thought to be the daughter of Chechen ISIS fighters.

In a story published by The Telegraph, reporters documented how dozens of children, most presumed to be the offspring of foreign ISIS fighters killed in the final battles, have been found. Some speak languages unknown to the soldiers who have found them.

Another boy was so desperate for food that when he was found, he was eating raw, discarded meat.
“Some 650,000 boys and girls, who have lived through the nightmare of violence in Mosul, have paid a terrible price and endured many horrors over the past three years,” said Hamida Ramadhani, UNICEF’s deputy representative in Iraq.

According to reports in Sky News, in the final days of the battle to take back Mosul, ISIS broke with protocol and deployed wives of foreign fighters as guards over the population to prevent them from fleeing. The women were outfitted with suicide vests that they were told to detonate if their charges defied them.

Foreign wives were also deployed as snipers, putting them in the direct line of fire for the first time.

“There’s a huge amount of pressure on foreign members of the group, in terms of their ability to travel, their ability to leave. IS [Islamic State] doesn’t want foreign members to leave,” said Charlie Winter, an expert on the terror group from King’s College London.

“I’d imagine there will be a significant number that will be captured, a significant number that will be killed,” he added.

Reports coming out of Mosul indicate that dozens of female foreign fighters have already been captured.
The battle has now moved to Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of ISIS in the Middle East. Part of the city is already the control of coalition forces.

Brett McGurk, US envoy to the international coalition battling the terror group, estimates that there are roughly 3,000 to 3,500 foreign fighters in Raqqa. McGurk predicts that all of these fighters will die in Raqqa.

Since ISIS has forbidden its fighters and their wives to flee, rescue workers are expecting to find many orphan children there as well.

Springs of Hope Foundation works with survivors of ISIS. In an exclusive interview, founder Lisa Miara tells Clarion Project of the horrors and the hope for these children.

Clarion Project’s latest film KiDS: Inside the Terror Factory (working title) is a documentary film that will explore and expose the complex topic of the exploitation of children by extremists. KiDS will give voice to voiceless children abroad and in the United States, and start an urgently needed conversation about the growing problem of child indoctrination and incitement.

Watch the trailer:




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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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