Tags: Al-Qaida | Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | Middle East | Syria | ISIS | Iraq

ISIS Recruits Children as Young as 10 to Be Soldiers

By John Blosser   |   Monday, 30 Jun 2014 12:05 PM

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has recruited solders as young as 10 to resolve a serious problem — it doesn't have enough troops to occupy and control the regions it has taken, The Daily Beast reported.

ISIS, which has seized large parts of Iraq, is estimated to have between 7,000 to 10,000 troops and is stretched thin in its attempts to control territory it has taken in Iraq and Syria. In Mosul, Iraq, the group is estimated to have only 4,000 troops and is desperate for more foot soldiers.

Hence, the group is enlisting children, according to the Beast, which found a boy it identified as Abdullah, buying candy at a store in central Mosul, while masked and toting a machine gun.

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"We have a lot of hope for Abdullah and other children his age," an adult gunman who accompanied Abdullah said, according to the website. "We believe they will conquer all of Iraq and Persia and that they will liberate Jerusalem."

Volunteers have to agree to obey orders even if they will result in the ultimate sacrifice, and never retreat upon penalty of death. They must be recommended by an ISIS member with more than two years' enlistment, agree to study and follow ISIS' radical interpretation of Islamic law, and undergo harsh military and physical education.

While better educated Mosul youths are shunning ISIS enlistment, they fear that as voluntary enlistments start running dry, ISIS may begin drafting them into the group. One young Mosul resident told the Beast he and his friends would prefer not to join ISIS because they "don't want to join hands with those whose hands are stained with blood."

The use of children as soldiers is opposed by the United Nations, which has identified 55 state and nonstate groups who regularly use them, and estimates there are between 250,000 to 300,000 child soldiers fighting in world conflicts today.

The gunman accompanying Abdullah said, "Our children don't waste time on electronic games or on watching cartoons. They have a dream and their dream is to establish an Islamic state."

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