In a new video purportedly released by the Islamic State titled “My Father Told Me,” ISIS child soldiers mass execute bound captives in a training exercise. Later, a man is thrown off a roof to his death. The video was released on ISIS terrorist channels on December 29 after a trailer teasing its release was shared earlier in the morning.
The nearly 34-minute video is stated to come from “Wilayat Raqqa,” or “the State of Raqqa,” ISIS’ name for its occupied region surrounding the Syrian city of Raqqa. ISIS took complete control of Raqqa on January 13, 2014.
The video features boys about 9 to 13-years-old participating in military training exercises, including carrying rifles, jumping and climbing over fences, and being woken up in the middle of the night by older jihadists. The boys are also shown taking Quran classes.
Later in the video, the boys are sent on a mock mission to an abandoned building to kill subdued and bound targets, including a man labeled “PKK.”
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party is often anglicized as “PKK” because its Latinized name is “Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê.” The Kurdistan Workers’ Party oversees the armed wing of its organization known as the Kurdish People’s Defence Force (YPG). The PKK is currently a major force on the front lines fighting ISIS. Kurds have proven their reliability to effectively fight ISIS.
During the execution portion of the video, the boys play a game of “cat and mouse” with their victims. One man is shot in the crotch or leg before receiving a point blank headshot.
Towards the end of the video, one of the prisoners is shown cornered by a gun-wielding boy on the rooftop of the building. The man throws himself to his death off of the roof, but the boy decides to shoot the man anyway.
Previous ISIS photo reports have shown them grooming young boys into jihadis. ISIS refers to their boys as “cubs,” as it refers to its adult male fighters as “lions.”
In June, ARA News reported that the Islamic State ramped up its child soldier recruitment program after losing massive amounts of militants to desertion. In February, CNN reported that ISIS was recruiting the children at “an unprecedented rate.” A majority are Syrian and Iraqi in origin.
The question remains as to what to do with these boy soldiers once ISIS is defeated.
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