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‘Cubs of the Caliphate’: Daesh-Brainwashed Children Struggle After Liberation

© AP Photo / Ahmad Al RubayeRefugees from Iraq. (File)
Refugees from Iraq. (File) - Sputnik International
After the defeat of Daesh in Mosul, experts are actively predicting the exact of the fall of the terrorist group. According to them, it will take place within the next months. Meanwhile, the terrorists who still hold some districts of the Syrian city of Raqqa are conducting propaganda campaigns that actively target women and children.

The fate of Daesh may be considered predetermined, but the fall of the terrorist organization won’t mean the end of its legacy. 

Children who have been brainwashed by the group are known as the "Cubs of the Caliphate” and may pose a greater threat to the world than is foreseen at present.

Suicide mission

According to UNICEF, at the beginning of this year 10,000 children fled the Iraqi city of Mosul. Many of those children were exploited at the hands of Daesh to carry out attacks in the city.

“They told us: ‘If someone wants to kill you, kill him. If there is no weapon, take a grenade and blow yourself up.’” 10-year-old Ahram said.

Children of Syria Will Have 'Irreversible Mental' Health Issues, NGO Warns - Sputnik International
Children of Syria Will Have 'Irreversible Mental' Health Issues, NGO Warns
According to a report by the Netherlands Anti-Terrorism Committee, Daesh created a whole system of training camps for young children. 

The recruits were coerced in different ways, ranging from being brainwashed by parents who were promised monthly payments to mass kidnappings. 

© Sputnik / Iliya Pitalev / Go to the mediabankChildren in a refugee camp located in a school building, Damascus
Children in a refugee camp located in a school building, Damascus - Sputnik International
Children in a refugee camp located in a school building, Damascus

The boys were trained physically and psychologically for war and girls were prepared to become the wives of terrorists.

“Children in the camp participated in competitions, the main prize of which was the opportunity to become a suicide bomber,” one of the “Cubs of the Caliphate” told a RIA correspondent.

Mowgli of jihad

Human rights activists involved in the rescue of such children (mainly by paying a large ransom to Daesh) claim that the main reason they fell into the hands of Daesh is because they are simply weren’t wanted by anyone else.

Terrorists were trying to ensure their survival by preparing the next generation. 

Damascus, Syria. (File) - Sputnik International
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Following the liberation of some of the Iraqi territories, the schools started to conduct revisions of all school textbooks. 

In Syria this prompted a complete reform of the entire religious education system, which is being rolled out right now. Mainstream Muslims decided that only a proper understanding of their religion would protect their children from the radical ideas used by terrorists.

“The point is that we need to create a new group of people in Syria: young imams, preachers, religious figures who will be completely clean of terrorist terms…. Terrorists had completely removed state educational standards from the schools and the children were trained using the Wahhabi textbooks and programs,” Syria’s Minister for Religious Affairs Muhammad al-Saidi said.

Now it is important to stop such brainwashing material from circulating and influence children whose young minds remain very sensitive to such things.

Raised with love

The process of helping these children by returning them to loving communities and childhood innocence is a very difficult task. They have seen things and committed atrocities for Daesh and were raised as killing machines for years.

According to child psychologist Vachagan Gezatsyan, “All children are unique; can a wolf cub not eat hares if he used to do so with his family more than once? What did the child see, and what values and beliefs he had already acquired? Was there a deformation of the person?”

The most important factor that contributes to a child’s development is the society in which he or she is raised, Gezatsyan believes.

“In my opinion, very much depends on the person who will integrate the child back into  society." It may be worthwhile to keep these children separate for a while, smoothly changing them for the better. 

"Here the value of the educator's personality comes to the forefront. He or she must set a good example, be an idol, and a founder of new beliefs, values and love,” the expert concluded.

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