Wednesday 17 January 2018

Children are being trained as suicide bombers in camp

An injured man gestures amid rubble after what activists say were four air strikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Douma, eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus. Reuters
An injured man gestures amid rubble after what activists say were four air strikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Douma, eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus. Reuters
Residents inspect a damaged site after what activists say were four air strikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Douma, eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus. Reuters
Mariam Al Mansouri, the first Emirati female fighter jet pilot gives the thumbs up as she sits in the cockpit of an aircraft, in United Arab Emirates. AP Photo
Kurdish Syrian refugees carry their belongings after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. Reuters
Kurdish Syrian refugees stand in a truck at the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. Reuters
A member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carries a Kurdish Syrian refugee girl to the first aid tent after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. Reuters
A Syrian soldier stands on a damaged tank after government forces recaptured the Damascus suburb of Adra, Syria. AP Photo
Shi'ite fighters, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against militants of the Islamic State, take part in field training in the desert region between Kerbala and Najaf, south of Baghdad. Reuters

Ruth Sherlock

Children are being trained to become suicide bombers and executioners by the jihadists of the Islamic State in Syria, witnesses have revealed.

According to sources Isil has established a training camp in northeastern Raqqa province for boys below the age of 16.

The hideaway is where they indoctrinate recruits in their ideology and give them military training.

"We believe there are between 200 and 300 children in the camp," said Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, a Syrian activist who monitors Isil activity in Raqqa.

In Raqqa city, Isil fighters often hold "festivals for children" as recruitment drives for the training camps.

The camps are portrayed as "boy scouts clubs", where parents are told their children will learn about Islam and study the Holy Koran.

However, once the children arrive at the Al-Sharea'I Camp, it is understood that they are taught combat tactics, including suicide bombings, and brainwashed to support the group's ideology, Mr Raqqawi said.

Some of the boys attending the camp are the sons of foreign fighters who have recently moved to Raqqa and of local Isil supporters. In some cases however, Isil has been known to "kidnap" children, recruiting them to the camp without the knowledge or consent of the parents, according to Mr Raqqawi.

The children are at first trained to use Kalashnikov rifles and rocket powered grenades.

They are then reportedly divided into separate groups: some are taken to be trained as suicide bombers, and others as regular fighters.

Then, Mr Raqqawi said before being allowed to "graduate" from the camp, the children are forced to put their new found skills into action by either torturing or "killing a prisoner who is being held by Isil".

Mr Raqqawi backed up his reports with photographs of children holding guns and practising military manoeuvres, which he said had been leaked to him by an Isil fighter from inside the camp.

His account matches information given to this reporter by other residents of Raqqa and video footage posted on YouTube showing Isil fighters teaching young children all about their ideology.

"It's terrifying to see how these children change in a short time," Mr Raqqawi said. "They are building a whole new generation of people who would do their bidding, including suicide bombings, without blinking," he said in an interview yesterday.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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