Thousands of children who have lived under the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) were forced by the group to enlist as child soldiers. Many of these children were used as cannon fodder by the group in their fighting. Now, with the group having lost most of its territory, the legacy it has left is thousands of children soldiers, many of whom being permanently scarred by the fighting and violence they witnessed.
Kurdish Intelligence officials have revealed that thousands of children across Iraq and Syria are being exploited by the terrorist organisation to fight on the front lines and carry out suicide attacks – some of them are as young as nine years old. Observers believe that ISIS are using children because they are harder to detect for the security forces.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Security Forces, while fighting in Mosul, discovered a list of 173 potential suicide bombers. 20 of these were children. U.S. intelligence obtained the secret list, apparently created by the group to identify those who could potentially return to Europe and carry out attacks. The intelligence services then passed the list to the global crime agency Interpol, which distributed it to European security services. Details of the list have begun to emerge. ISIS often uses children in its propaganda videos, referring to them as “cubs of the caliphate” in an attempt to draw further recruits.
These thousands of children are part of a lost generation. A generation exposed to the worst kind of violence without counselling and help and with many lacking any kind of education or home to go to. Despite ISIS’ defeat in most of Iraq, many are worried about this new generation of children brought up under ISIS. Described by some as a ticking time bomb. These young people may pose more of a danger to the stability of this region than ever.