ISIS continues to exploit children through indoctrination and forced recruitment. This child recounts the tactics that ISIS uses to instil fear into young ones who then find themselves with no way out of the grasp of the terrorist group.
Recruitment of children by ISIS forces for the purposes of military training and eventually fighting on the side of the terrorist group has already been well documented.
Children are normally forcefully taken away from their families, often murdering the father to rid the household of any defence.
According to the UN, ISIS has concentrated much of its efforts to recruit children in Mosul. This later led to the discovery of an ISIS training camp for children in Mosul. Children are kidnapped and indoctrinated in such camps where slogans and images of ISIS propaganda messages have been found. Reports recount how children were taught to behead dolls.
The child in this video tell of how children in this training camp in Tabqa were taught how to climb up and down while they were beaten with sticks. He describes how ISIS members would shoot their guns to intimidate children. Some children would also be taken to unknown places by van and would never return.
This account fits in with others that specifically refer to child recruitment by ISIS in Tabqa. These experiences may be extrapolated to the general trend in child recruitment by ISIS, which has named its child contingent the “Cubs of the Caliphate”. This trend has been continuing since 2014 and it is a tactic that has proven useful for ISIS due to the ease with which children influenced by physical force and politico-religious ideology.
ISIS has placed significant attention on recruiting children due to their high level of impressionability. With the continued weakening and desperation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we may expect to see its further dependence on child recruits.