The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has resorted to recruiting child soldiers and drugging adult jihadis to keep Mosul, Iraq, under its control.
“In the beginning they had powerful weapons they stole from the Iraqi Army, but over time the coalition strikes have destroyed such weapons,” explained Jaffar Ibrahim Eminki, deputy speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament. “And ISIS is being defeated at many strategic points.”
The terrorist group captured Mosul in June 2014. Iraqi and Kurdish forces have launched assault after assault since the capture, which has worn down the militants. Iraqi officials believe they can retake their second largest city this year, even if their U.S. counterparts disagree.
Former Saddam Hussein Sunni loyalists have been leaving the terrorist group. Militants must use reserve soldiers, with some as young as 13-years-old.
“At the beginning, the Da’esh was all former Iraq military and Baath party leaders. They had experience, top bomb tech specialists and most were very skilled,” said Kamal Kirkuki, spokesman for the Kurdistan Democratic Party. “The new ones who have contacted them online and come to join have much less experience.”
Since the Islamic State established their Caliphate, the media has documented the group’s training and use of child soldiers. They dub these children “Cubs of the Caliphate.”
In February 2015, the militant group debuted an advertisement for their “Farouk Institute for Cubs” to train the young boys in radical Islam and warfare. NBC News estimated the video contained at least 80 percent foreign children. The video shows the children in military and religious classes, wearing headbands branding the Islamic State logo.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child claimed the militants force “mentally handicapped kids into service as suicide bombers.” Another video displayed militants training child soldiers at a camp in Iraq.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the Islamic State also recruited 400 children in 2015 alone. The group targets schools and mosques in areas it controls in Iraq and Syria.
A few months later, Sheikh Shamo, a Kurdish Yazidi member of Iraqi Parliament, reported the Islamic State has forced many abducted Yazidi children to be soldiers for the terrorist group.
A Peshmerga official also told Fox News the Islamic State has drugged many soldiers with Captagon, which is “manufactured in large quantities in Lebanon and neighboring Syria.” A German drug company developed fenethylline in 1961 as a mild amphetamine. Drug companies issued it under the brand name Captagon. Doctors used it on children with ADHD and adults with narcolepsy and depression.
The World Health Organization (WHO) banned the substance in 1986 due to abuse.
“ISIS is using special tablets, the fighters take the drug and they don’t know where they are or what they are doing. They are just shooting and fighting,” described the official. “They lose their minds. Some can be shot 20 times before they go down.”