Babies and young children are apparently being used in the latest propaganda from extremist groups such as Islamic State (Isis).
A shocking photo of a baby lying on a flag is among those believed to have been posted online by Isis supporters.
The picture, which shows a young baby lying next to a Kalashnikov rifle and guns, comes as part of the Islamic militant group’s wider propaganda campaign on social media.
It was circulating on Twitter under the hashtag #IS. It has not been verified but, if authentic, could show the youngest child to be used in Isis propoganda.
The pictures follow an image posted on Twitter by Khaled Sharrouf, an Australian Isis fighter, purporting to show his seven-year-old son holding a severed human head in Syria.
The image, captioned “that’s my boy!”, prompted widespread revulsion.
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In June, concerns were raised that Isis could be using children to fight on its frontline in Iraq after videos of fighters passing through Mosul showed young boys toting what appeared to be assault rifles.
Charlie Cooper, Programs Officer at the Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremism think tank, said other groups closely affiliated with al-Qaeda have also been circulating images showing young children posing with weapons.
He told The Independent: "These images are not that surprising as these groups want to show they have total control of subjects and are indoctrinating them from a very young age.
"It's important to remember that things which are shocking to us are not that shocking to them, for example with the picture of the young child holding a severed head. What is being drilled into recruits is that the men being decapitated are rightfully being decapitated."
David Cameron and Barack Obama have presented a united front in response to Isis this week, warning the group Britain and America “will not be cowed by barbaric killers.”
The UK government has said it will to examine “every possible option" to protect the life of British hostage David Haines, who Isis have threatened to kill next.
'Jihadi John', the man believed to be responsible for the beheading of two Americans, and who is currently threatening the man's life, will "one way or another face justice", Mr Cameron warned.Reuse content