On December 29, the Islamic State released another “Cubs of the Caliphate” training video in which child soldiers are shown murdering helpless prisoners.
As in the previous “Cubs” video, preteen children are shown moving through a training course like a military squad, using their handguns to murder bound captives they discover along the way. Last year’s video had the trainees sweeping through an outdoor area, evidently somewhere in Syria; this time they are going through a ruined building somewhere in or near the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa. Another similarity to the earlier video is that the executions are made to resemble a first-person video game.
Unlike the previous child-executioner video release, this time the prisoners are allowed to move around with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, turning the exercise into a murderous cat-and-mouse chase. Some prisoners are shown weeping and pleading when cornered by the gun-wielding children. The bloody aftermath of their executions is shown in detail.
One prisoner is shot in the leg or groin and tries to crawl to safety before his child murderer shoots him in the leg again to stop him, prompting a howl of pain and fear. The little boy then stands over his victim and finishes the job with a string of point-blank shots.
Another hysterically weeping victim is brought to his knees with a bullet to the leg and then shot in the top of the head. The ISIS cameramen linger on him as he takes his last ragged breaths.
Several armed children corner the last victim on a rooftop, who appears to leap to his death to escape them. The children go downstairs and pump several bullets into his head.
One of the victims is notably identified as a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, the Kurdish separatist group in Turkey. The Turkish government frequently claims the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, which is allied with the United States and has been fighting the Islamic State since its inception, is a branch of the PKK.
Some of the children shown in the video appear to be wounded. One of them has a cast on his arm.
The 34-minute video, titled “My Father Told Me,” also shows children aged 9 to 13 training with firearms, rocket launchers, and hand-to-hand combat. They also read the Koran, undergo jihadi indoctrination, and pledge to fight for the Islamic State.