The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has released a new 14-minute propaganda video that shows new “Cubs of the Caliphate” training at a camp near Raqqa, Syria.
The ages of the boys are unknown, but they appear to be between five and ten. Dressed in full camouflage, the boys show off their ability to reload and properly use an AK-47, a weapon almost as big as they are.
“Indoctrinating kids with ISIS fanaticism is not only the easiest population to indoctrinate but also produces new generations of ISIS believers and ultimately at some point fighters,” explained Steve Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “This is the way you build a Caliphate. Their goal is to rebuild the Islamic societies they have conquered into a global comprehensive Islamist system that … takes over all aspects of society from garbage collection to teaching at the Madrassats [religious schools].”
The adults also teach the boys how to evacuate a moving vehicle and protect their fellow terrorists. They perform basic military training exercises such as climbing fences, crawling under barbed wire, and escaping into a dirt tunnel.
“They make a big point of showing off about it too by sharing martyrdom pictures and showing videos of military training,” described Charlie Winter at the Quilliam think tank, adding:
For someone who is completely committed to Islamic State ideology, a hardcore supporter of jihadism and the Caliphate, killing themselves in a suicide operation is the greatest honour they can receive. That’s why you see suicide bomber registers in territory controlled by Islamic State, where you actually have to apply for who gets to kill themselves.
The video comes to light a day after images showcased young boys standing “next to the explosive-filled vehicles they blew themselves up in.” Talha Asmal, 17, became the United Kingdom’s youngest suicide bomber this week. ISIS released a photo of him standing next to a Toyota Land Cruiser, which officials believe he drove to an oil refinery in Iraq and detonated a bomb.
“It is abhorrent what is going on here but the people who are killing themselves are not being forced into it. … They have often requested it,” continued Winter.
On Tuesday, three sisters and their nine children from Bradford went missing, and authorities believe they are on their way to Syria to join ISIS. Breitbart London reports:
Lawyer Balaal Khan said that he had been instructed to alert the media by the family in Britain. He told ITV News that the fathers, two of whom are in the UK and one in Pakistan, were “distraught” and “crying,” not knowing “whether they were coming or going.” He passed on their message to their wives and children:
“We love you, we care for you, we want you back – please get in contact with us.”
Although 12 family members made the Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia on 28 May, an additional concern for the fathers is that flight logs only show ten of them boarding the flight from Medina to Istanbul, a commonly used path into Syria, on 9 April. Zohra Dawood’s eight and five year old children are not listed as having boarded that flight with the rest of the group.