New horrific evidence of ISIS embroiling children in their religious war has emerged. Refugees fleeing the fighting in the battle-stricken border town of Kobane, Syria, have told of how ISIS fighters are beheading children in their bloodthirsty siege; whilst in Kazakhstan, ISIS have released a propaganda video showing children being trained as fighters.
“They were beheading people — we heard that they were even beheading children,” a young woman fleeing the fighting in Kobane told the Sunday Times. “We ran.”
Her words are echoed by Zawa, a new mother who gave birth to her daughter, Shirin, whilst deserting Kobane. The young mother crossed first into nearby Turkey, and then on into Iraq. “There was no choice,” says Zawa. “We had to do it.”
Kobane has been the focal point for heavy fighting since mid September, when ISIS militants laid siege to the Kurdish border town in northern Syria. As shells and heavy artillery pounded the town and over 300 villages in the area, up to 300,000 Kurds fled the region, 45,000 from Kobane alone.
The town is still the scene of heavy fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga forces, backed by coalition airstrikes and the Free Syrian Army, and ISIS jihadists intent on claiming the land for their oppressive Islamic State.
According to the Times, the war in Syria has created over 3 million refugees since 2011, half of whom are children. Save the Children, who operates in the region, are now appealing for more help to provide food and shelter. Justin Forsyth, Save the Children’s chief executive said “Millions of terrified children have lost their parents, brothers, sisters, friends, homes and normality through no fault of their own. Many don’t have any memories left of what a normal childhood, free from war should look like.”
Meanwhile, ISIS has created and released a high production quality propaganda video titled Race Towards Good, showing Kazakh children at an Islamic school being indoctrinated in radical Sharia law and taught military skills. In one scene, a boy demonstrates his ability to strip down and reassemble a machine gun while his classmates look on.
Their teacher narrates in Arabic: “They’ve completed lessons in Qur’an, Tajwid and the Arabic language. They will move on to physical and military training until they get older and pound the thrones of the tawaghit. With Allah’s permission, they are the next generation. They are the ones who will shake the earth and spread this precious deen [religion] to all regions of the earth.”
In another, a boy, who identifies himself as Abdullah from Kazakhstan, is quizzed. He is asked what he is doing, to which he replies “Right now I’m training in the camp”; where he is: “In the Islamic Khilafeh”; who his leader is: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”. When asked what his future holds, he smiles and proudly declares “I will be the one who slaughters you, O kuffar. I will be a mujahid, insha’allah.” His interviewer praises his every answer.
The film also shows a toddler dressed in military fatigues totters about carrying a toy machine gun, while behind him an older child leads a group of his classmates in declaring their mission, proclaiming “We’re going to kill you, O kuffar. Insha’allah we’ll slaughter you.”
Dr Andreas Krieg, Assistant Professor at the Department of Defence Studies in Kings College London told the Mail on Sunday that Kazakhstan is not currently a target area for ISIS, but that they like to teach foreigners to travel to Syria to fight with them Arabic and indoctrinate the young to create the next generation of fighters.
“They [ISIS] are currently concentrating on Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. Although recently Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently said he was looking to franchise the organisation in different Muslim countries.
“Teaching the foreign fighters Arabic is very important to them as they want to be able to win hearts and minds of the people in their core target areas. The reason they are training children, is the same reason the like of Hamas have been training children for the past 20 years. It is to indoctrinate them and create the next generation of fighter.
“Kazakhstan is a reasonably stable country. These men, like those in Britain and other western countries are disenfranchised by the society they live in. They are very susceptible to the ISIS narrative.”