Children Forced to Watch Executions as Part of ISIS Recruitment Strategy

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Children who join ISIS training camps – either under duress or willingly – are forced to learn to use weapons, such as knives and AK-47 rifles, and watch executions as Islamist fighters prepare them for deadly missions.

MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) — Children who join ISIS training camps – either under duress or willingly – are forced to learn to use weapons, such as knives and AK-47 rifles, and watch executions as Islamist fighters prepare them for deadly missions.

A 13-year-old, whose name was only given as Mohammed, from the Syrian city of Raqqa spent 30 days in one such camp. He wanted to join by his own free will, but his father wouldn’t let him fearing that his son would turn into a Jihadist.

Mohammed wanted to go to the camp because his friends were going. “They thought war and guns were entertainment,” his father, who preferred to remain anonymous for personal safety reasons, explained, as quoted by CNN. Eventually, ISIS fighters threatened the father that they would behead him if he doesn’t let Mohammed go, so he complied.

Mohammed recalled that he would wake up, jog and then spend time learning the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet. “Then we took courses on weapons, Kalashnikovs and other light military stuff,” he told CNN.

ISIS fighters also forced children to watch executions, lashings and stonings. “We saw a young man who did not fast for Ramadan, so they crucified him for three days, and we saw a woman being stoned [to death] because she committed adultery,” he said, as quoted by CNN.

Another shocking skill that children attending ISIS training camps had to acquire was beheading, ABC reports. Mohammed’s mother was terrified when she found a doll with blond hair and blue eye dressed in orange garment and a knife that ISIS supervisors gave her son. It was homework, he explained. All children were given dolls, which resemble people of Slavic or Scandinavian origin and hardly look like anyone born in the Middle East, and knives to behead them.

When boys complete the training they are expected to swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, believed by his supporters to be the leader of all Muslims and the head of the Islamic State established on large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Children can then be sent into adult military camps or directly to fight. Mohammed said that a friend of his, aged 13 or 14, was killed in an ISIS operation against the Syrian Army.

When Mohammed returned from the camp his father decided it was time for the family to leave Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold in Syria. The family fled and at the moment lives in the Turkish city of Urfa.

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