12/04/2015, 00.00
SYRIA
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Islamic State uses child soldiers to execute some Syrian army prisoners

The jihadists have released a new video showing some children, about 10 years old, used to kill six soldiers and pro-government militia. Five of them killed with a gun, the last beheaded. A "message" directly to those "opposed" to IS. Activists and experts point out that IS does not hide the practice of child soldiers, rather it "flaunts" their use.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The militias of the Islamic State (IS) yesterday afternoon released a new, gruesome video showing six child soldiers recruited by jihadists used to carry out executions (in the photo image of the video) of Syrian army soldiers. The first five soldiers were killed by shooting, while the last was beheaded according to a ritual often seen in the past.

Entitled "For the children of the Jews", the video made by the IS pays a lot of attention to detail, with a screenplay and various references that recall the most popular video games of action and war; it shows at first dozens of children, aged about 10 years, studying the Koran and learning the art of war and combat.

Later, six of these children are chosen by their instructor to "send a message" to those opposed to the Islamic State, carrying out a carefully staged execution of security forces in the hands of the militia.

The militias of the Islamic state are certainly not the first army or irregular fighter group to use child soldiers for war operations. However, so far they were used in roadblocks or to gather intelligence. With the arrival of Daesh (Arabic acronym for the IS), this abuse has taken one step further, with the use of children and young people to execute prisoners.

In the video you can see each of the six boys running through a ruined fortress, in search of the prisoner to be executed, accompanied by music and background sounds; each prisoner had previously provided their name, year of birth and described their role within the security forces or pro-government militias.

As is clear from the introduction to the video, it was filmed in the province of Deir Ezzor (Wilayat al-Khayr), in the eastern part of Syria under the control of the jihadists.

Estimates of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in London that relies on a network of informers on the ground, the IS has recruited more than 1,100 child soldiers since the beginning of 2015, of which 50 have been killed.

 Activists and international human rights groups point out that, unlike other groups or armies, the jihadists "do not hide" the practice of using child soldiers, instead they tend "to flaunt it" as a trademark. Their use is part of their international campaign of "indoctrination", to make the world understand “the new generation" born and raised "under the Caliphate."

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