BEIRUT – More than 400 minors have been enabled to join the Islamic State since early 2015 throughout areas under the group’s control in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, or SOHR, said on Tuesday.
At the same time, SOHR reported that at least 120 new jihadists have joined the IS since the beginning of the year, finding that “the last three months are considered the least in terms of proportion of joining to IS by fighters from all nationalities since the declaration of its self-proclaimed ‘Caliphate’ on June 28, 2014.”
The jihadist group continues “to attract and recruit children within its ranks under what so called ‘Ashbal al-Khilafah (lion cubs of the caliphate),” SOHR noted, adding that IS has recently opened youth recruitment offices in two Syrian cities, al- Mayadin and al-Bokamal.
“The organization also induces the parents and guardians to send their sons to these camps where the children undergo to Sharia and military courses,” the NGO documented.
The report explains that the IS curriculum in Sharia, Islamic jurisprudence, instills the extremist “IS ideology” in the hearts and minds of the children, while the military courses teaches them how to operate weapons and engage enemies in armed conflict.
IS is also reported by SOHR to entice children to join the group with money, weapons and cars, while the youth are often made to work as spies to gather information, and as guards on IS posts.
In two separate videos, thought to have been in part of the group’s propaganda campaign, youth members of IS were depicted allegedly executing two Russians and an Israeli Arab by gunfire, all of whom had been accused of being spies.