A disturbing, 7-minute Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda video is circulating that shows masked, uniformed children being trained to fight inside a metal cage, throwing punches and holding guns while a trainer shouts encouragement.
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The unmasked trainers uses a stick to move the boys through an assault course and walks across their aligned stomachs as they lay on the floor, the Daily Mail reports.
Other scenes show the boys breaking tiles with their heads, practicing fighting moves and crawling through metal tubes as ISIS fighters fire live rounds over their heads, the Daily Mail reports.
"They are … trying to assert the fact that this is the next generation of Islamic State recruits," Charlie Winter, a researcher with London-based counter extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation, tells The Independent.
"Although they are kids and it will be years before they are meaningful military assets, they are trying to drive home the fact they will be around for a while."
He said the video was carefully put together "to be as eye-catching as possible."
"If you can have props that resonate with movies or popular culture … it gives everyone a chance to engage in their heroism," he tells The Independent
The video surfaces as the Department of State releases its report on terror,
including that 16,000 foreign nationals from 90 countries flooded Syria over 2014 alone, many of whom presumably joined ISIS, the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra Front, and other Islamist groups.
The report also notes ISIS' unprecedented wide use of social media as a terror and recruitment tool.
The video is by no means a first.
A video released by ISIS last February claims to show young children being trained as fighters, shot at a training camp for "cubs" in Raqqa, Syria.
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