Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists were brainwashing thousands of children for the past two years in the occupied city of Mosul, their stronghold in Iraq, according to a report by Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.
The jihadists are said to have been modifying school curricula for two years to “brainwash student children, force hatred onto them and oblige them to join [IS ranks],” according to the Commission’s media director, Jawad al-Shamri, as cited by Iraqi News.
He also said that IS had managed to meddle with the education of as many as 400,000 children in this manner.
“ISIS syllabuses taught children how to make explosive belts, take female hostages and prepare booby-traps,” al-Shamri detailed. Warning that such practices would “become entrenched in children’s minds” if they are not taken care of immediately, al-Shamri said he had approached the UN with a call to provide rehabilitation for the youngsters.
Just last week, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report stating that amid the ongoing offensive on Mosul by the Iraqi Army, IS has been stockpiling mustard gas, executing and kidnapping civilians, and increasingly recruiting more and more child soldiers as its ranks are depleted by the coalition’s onslaught.
“Heartbreaking images of children…children…being forced to carry out executions […] The forced displacement of tens of thousands of civilians and their exploitation as human shields, and then the risk of reprisals against these long-suffering women, men and children for their perceived support of ISIL – the extent of civilian suffering in Mosul and other ISIL-occupied areas in Iraq is numbing and intolerable,” High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said regarding the findings.
The purpose for the use of child soldiers by IS is quite clear: to prepare them for suicide missions when the city is breached by the Iraqi Army. The group has already deployed some of them against the advancing forces.
“[...] ISIL deployed what it calls the ‘Sons of the Caliphate’ in the alleys of the old town of Mosul, wearing explosive belts. We are concerned that these may be teenagers and young boys,” said the OHCHR.
Over the past several years there have been numerous reports that IS organizes training camps for turning children into killing machines. Multiple videos have appeared online with child-terrorists executing IS hostages or fulfilling other gruesome tasks for propaganda purposes.
READ MORE: ISIS prepares sulfur pits, hangs ‘traitors’ on lampposts as Iraqi troops close in on Mosul
All these children, some apparently no older than 3 years, receive military and religious training. As can be seen from the group’s propaganda videos, kids are given weapons as toys and made to watch executions for “educational purposes.”
It was reported earlier this year that around 400 Yazidi children were abducted by militants in Iraq last winter alone. Another 500 children were kidnapped in Diyala and Anbar provinces in May. The United Nations reported that between 800 and 900 children in Mosul itself had been abducted for military and religious training.
The head of the Iraqi Parliament’s Committee for Women, Family and Childhood, Rehab al-Abouda, claims IS has already turned most of these kidnapped youngsters into militants and is using them in clashes with the Iraqi security forces.
The Iraqi forces are advancing on Mosul from the east and the south, having cleared several surrounding towns and entered the eastern districts of the city last week. They have, however, faced resistance from the militants who deployed suicide car bombs, snipers and waves of counter-attacks against the army.
Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said on Tuesday that Iraqi forces have driven out militants from more than one-third of the eastern half of the city, Reuters reported. He said Baghdad intends to stop at nothing to push the militants out of the city.
Reports claim that up to 25 people have been killed by terrorists during the past two days on charges of collaborating with the Iraqi security forces. Some 2,000 Mosul inhabitants have reportedly been abducted and taken towards the district of Tal Afar to be used as human shields.