Baghdad/Damascus, March 12: Children in terrorist camps makes your tummy rumble with sickness and the question is how far will the jihadis go? Children have been used as human shields and suicide bombers in the past, but today the thinking in the ISIS is completely different.
What are the children being recruited for in such large numbers? The answer is simple. The ISIS wants to create a future generation of fighters- it is as simple as that.
There are conflicting figures over how many children are fighting alongside the ISIS. Some statistics would reveal that in the past couple of years the ISIS has managed to rope in over 200 children into its fold and they are being imparted training right from the tender age of 5.
Multiple strategies with the children
The ISIS currently has a fierce set of fighters. They have overcome almost every other terrorist group which have sought to challenge them. With the likes of Boko Haram joining the ISIS, the group has become even more stronger.
Reports would suggest that there are at least 200 members in the ISIS who are below the age of 18. Each one of them have a different role to play in the outfit. Some children are strapped with bombs and thrown into enemy territory as human bombs.
Those recruited at the age of five are sent to schools where they are first taught how to speak and write in Arabic. They are also imparted education, but the contents of the books are mainly centered around a misinterpreted concept of Jihad.
There are also a few children who recently have been roped into carry out beheadings. A recent video shows two children executing two Russian spies. Such beheadings are aimed at sending out the most brutal message to the world that the policies of the ISIS are imbibed even within children of such a tender age. One must never forget that the strongest selling point of the ISIS is its brutality.
In a bid to be more brutal the ISIS have decided that the future videos of beheading would show more children in it. Children are being specifically trained to behead people. Boys in the age group of 8 and 10 are given dolls to practice beheading.
Breeding a new generation
Security analysts say that the children will make for a deadly army that the ISIS is nurturing for its future ventures. They want a continued supply of people in their fold and would want children to be battle ready when they grow up.
In their bid to establish the Islamic caliphate and guard the territory that they have taken control of the ISIS would require a second in command army. In such an event the children that they are grooming come in handy.
Lion cubs as the army of the children are referred to as are forcibly brought in at the age of five. They are taught the ideology of the ISIS and also the importance of the Sharia law. Children at such a tender age begin to imbibe these values and one can only imagine what they would turn out to be once they are grown. The ISIS feels that the second rung of fighters will be brutal than the existing flock as they have learnt the art of fighting and the Islamic state values from a very tender age.
A boy from Raqqa recently said that when the ISIS came to his town he liked their uniform. I liked the guns they were carrying. I spoke to them and volunteered to train in their camp at Kafr Hamra in Aleppo.
ISIS is desperate for numbers
The sudden influx of children into the ISIS's fold is another indicator that the group wants more fighters. The ISIS game plan would suggest that they want to build an army of 3 lakh persons in the coming years. Currently their flock is estimated at 40000 in Iraq and Syria.
While mustering up the numbers is one part of the ploy the other reason is to make ensure that the ISIS ideology becomes a way of life. Women are being recruited in large numbers and the ISIS expects that they would teach their children more about the ISIS.
In a nut shell if one were to look at it, it becomes clear that the ISIS is readying itself for a long and bloody battle.