Children in Raqqa forced to train as Isis fighters and executioners

Children are handed Kalashnikov rifles and taught how to behead people in training camp

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The Independent Online

In a special camp in Syria’s Raqqa province, between 200 and 300 children are understood to be receiving training by Isis militants to become fighters and executioners for the terrorist group.

The Al Sharea’l camp is reserved for children under the age of 16 who are taught to support Isis’ (also known as Islamic State) militant ideology, and are reportedly trained to handle Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs as part of their initial training.

Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, a Syrian activist, told the Telegraph that the camps are advertised to parents as “boy scout clubs” where children will be taught about Islam and the study of the Koran, but in reality are trained as suicide bombers and militant fighters.

“It’s terrifying to see how these children change in a short time,” Mr Raqqawi told the newspaper, “they are building a new generation of children who would do their bidding, including suicide bombings, without blinking”.

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Isis fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province

He claimed the children, some of whom had been kidnapped by Isis, are then forced to prove their worth by torturing or “killing a prisoner being held” by the extremist group, before they can “graduate” from the camp.

Mr Raqqawi provided photographs of children holding guns and practicing military manoeuvres which he claimed had been leaked to him by an Isis fighter inside the camp.

It is children in Raqqa who reportedly attend the public executions and crucifixions carried out by Isis.

One father, who has not been named, told Syria Deeply that his 13-year-old son Mohammad was forced to attend the children’s training camp, and was threatened with being killed when he tried to stop his son from joining it.

 

Mohammad’s father, who has since fled Raqqa with his family, said the camp’s leaders were “brain washing the children” and forcing them to practice beheadings, which he discovered when his son returned home with a blond, blue-eyed doll and a large knife that he had been given to decapitate as homework.

He claimed the older children at the camp taught the younger boys how to behead the dolls, and anyone who did not complete the task were punished.

Mohammad’s father told the publication that he and his family left Syria for the Turkish city of Urfa after his son returned from the camp, and said that many families had done the same to avoid child conscriptions.

“The regime hasn’t spared its arms, using everything they have against us,” Mohammad’s mother said. “Then Isis tried to teach our children that they should consider us infidels and cut off our heads.”

Footage has since emerged from Syria demonstrating how children are exposed to weapons under Isis leadership.

A French video report, in which a woman wore a hidden camera while walking around the city of Raqqa, showed a woman wearing a niqab taking her child to a playground with an AK47 slung over her back.

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