Isis releases video of child soldiers training for jihad in Syria camp for 'cubs of the caliphate'

Parents of former conscript said he was told to practice beheading a blonde doll

Lizzie Dearden
Monday 23 February 2015 16:01 GMT
A still of an Isis video called "Al-Farouq Institute for Cubs" claiming to show a children's terror training camp
A still of an Isis video called "Al-Farouq Institute for Cubs" claiming to show a children's terror training camp

Isis has released a new propaganda video claiming to show a terror training camp for children dubbed jihadist “cubs”.

Around 80 boys are seen standing in formation in a courtyard as they perform exercises and chant “Allahu Akbar!” to a commander’s orders.

They are dressed in combat gear and wearing black headbands styled after the militant group’s black flag.

Some of the conscripts are believed to be as young as five and the group could include the foreign sons of fighters who left their home countries to join Isis’ bloody campaign to establish a hardline Islamic “caliphate”.

A still of an Isis video called "Al-Farouq Institute for Cubs" claiming to show a children's terror training camp

Other parts of the nine-minute footage explore the alleged camp, showing the boys, praying, reciting verses from the Koran and discussing Islam.

The video could not be independently verified but is believed to have been recorded at a terror training camp called the Al-Farouq Institute for Cubs, in the Isis stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, the Site Intelligence Group reported.

The group is known to recruit children from its strongholds under duress to train them as soldiers and use them as human shields, suicide bombers and enforcers.

A video released by Isis last month appeared to show a child soldier shooting dead two prisoners accused of spying for Russia and a previous propaganda video showed the "Cubs of the Caliphate" at a camp near Damascus.

Syria Deeply, a website dedicated to the ongoing conflict, interviewed a 13-year-old boy called Mohammad who is said to have escaped an Isis training camp for child soldiers.

His father opposed his conscription in the summer but militants threatened to kill him before taking the teenager away to be “brainwashed”, he said.

Mohammad returned with a blonde, blue-eyed doll dressed in an orange jumpsuit and a large knife, saying a commander instructed children to practice beheading the Western figure as “homework”.

The family lived in Raqqa, although it was unclear whether the boy had attended the Al-Farouq Institute for Cubs where the propaganda video was filmed.

Isis fighters control the city of Raqqa in Syria

Mohammad’s parents said families were fleeing the Isis stronghold, where children under 15 are reportedly being targeted, to stop their boys being forcibly conscripted into the group’s ranks.

A report last year by the UN's Human Rights Council found that Isis “has established training camps to recruit children into armed roles under the guise of education”.

A recent Isis flier reportedly claimed that two English-language schools have been opened in its 'capital' Raqqa

“At the camps, the children recruited received weapons training and religious education,” the report reads. “The existence of such camps seems to indicate that Isis systematically provides weapons training for children.

"Subsequently, they were deployed in active combat during military operations, including suicide-bombing missions.”

The latest video emerged shortly after the Sunni Islamist group released footage showing 21 caged Kurdish soldiers being paraded through the streets of Kirkuk, Iraq.

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