7 Answers to Questions About Child Soldiers

A Palestinian boy wearing a military costume arrives at a military-style graduation ceremony for Palestinian youths who were trained at one of the Hamas-run Liberation Camps, in Gaza City January 29, 2015. Hamas's armed wing organized "Liberation Youths Camps" for young Palestinians aged between 15 and 21 to prepare them to "confront any possible Israeli attack", Hamas officials said. According to organizers, some 17,000 youths graduated from these camps. (Photo: REUTERS / Suhaib Salem)
A Palestinian boy wearing a military costume arrives at a military-style graduation ceremony for youths who were trained at one of the Hamas-run Liberation Camps in Gaza. (Photo: REUTERS / Suhaib Salem)

This rise of child soldiers is an alarming trend in the world of Islamist terror. Read the following seven questions and answers about child soldiers and get an idea of the enormity of this problem:

How Young Are Children Recruited by Hezbollah?

Hezbollah is the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror organization that also controls the Lebanese government. With its stockpile of advanced weaponry and thousands of fighters, many believe it constitutes the second-strongest military force in the Middle East (after the Israeli army).
Hezbollah begins recruiting children at the age of eight to its Mahdi Scouts division. By 16, boys in the Scouts already “engage in jihadi work,” according to the Lebanese paper Al-Janubiya.
The Scouts are given a military course in “combat literacy,” so that by the time they graduate at 18 they are experienced fighters trained in many types of weaponry.

Besides military training, what else does Hezbollah train children in?

During the Syrian civil war, Hezbollah is operating a new division in Syria. Children in this division are not only provided with military training but radical religious education as well – especially the doctrine of revenge. Children also participate in rallies supporting the brutal regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

How persistent is ISIS in targeting kids online?

One boy in India reported a story that can be all too typical: While watching a movie one Friday afternoon, the boy was added to a WhatsApp group by an ISIS operative halfway around the world in Canada. Seeing the ISIS logo, the boy took himself out of the group, yet the administrator repeatedly added him, sending him threatening messages and telling the boy he would inform on him to the Pakistani and Indian intelligence agencies. This youth was smart enough to turn off his phone and tell his parents about the incident. They informed the ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad), which is monitoring his phone as part of an ongoing investigation.

What Typically Happens to Teenage Girls Who Are Lured Into ISIS?

Hundreds of minors from Europe as well as the U.S. from Muslim diaspora communities have been lured by ISIS since the terror group began its rampage through Syria and Iraq. Most of the girls end up married off to fighters and horribly abused as “jihadi brides.” Some are pressed into prostitution or used as sex slaves. Always, the consequence of getting caught trying to escape is a brutal death.

How Does Iran recruit child soldiers?

To the shock of the public, Iranian TV published a report last year about an Iranian child soldier fighting in the Syrian war.
However, they shouldn’t have been. The year before, Iranian state TV aired a video showing children singing a song called Martyrs Who Defend the Sacred Shrine to encourage children to fight for the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war.
The children in the clip were shown holding guns and undergoing weapons training.
During the Iran-Iraq War between the years of 1980 and 1988, Iran sent thousands of children into battle  However, the Iranian public widely believed children were no longer used as soldiers by the regime.
Yet, the 2017 report revealed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) actively recruits Iranian children to fight in the Syrian war. The child interviewed by Iranian TV told reporters he was 13 and was fighting for Assad in the Syrian city Abu Kamal (also known as Al-Bukamal) with Iran’s IRGC forces.

How Does Hamas Like Gazan Children to Spend their Summer Vacations?

Tens of thousands of Gaza boys attend Hamas paramilitary camps for children during the summer months. In 2015, Hamas also began the camps for girls.
One girl, aged 16, from the first class reported, “I joined the first al-Quds Army camp, and I am proud to be part of it. These camps grow the seeds of love of the nation and teache us about our Islamic sanctities that are being blatantly violated.
“This camp revived our hopes to create a female army to liberate Al-Aqsa from the occupation. We learn about weapons and how to handle them, and we are ready to go through intensive military training for this purpose.”

Which Recently (Re-)Elected Islamist Leader Openly Glorifies Child Martyrdom? Hint: His Country Belongs to NATO

In a speech criticized as child abuse, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this year to a crying six-year-old girl dressed in military fatigues, “If she’s martyred, they’ll lay a flag on her, God willing. She is ready for everything, isn’t she?”
Erdogan was speaking at a televised congress of his Islamist AK party, which has been known to tweet images of young, Turkish children in Germany and Austria being indoctrinated into becoming the next line of soldiers and martyrs. In one such tweet from Austria, children taking part in a play in a mosque were dressed as soldiers praying over other children who were wrapped in the Turkish flag playing dead martyrs.
Check out the trailer for our upcoming film Jihad Generation about the radicalization of kids:

Source: https://clarionproject.org/7-answers-to-questions-about-child-soldiers/


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