Skip to main content

The Islamic State's child soldiers

The Islamic State has been recruiting child soldiers for quite some time now, and the world is finally taking notice.
Children who were internally displaced from Hama and Idlib, walk in a makeshift school playground within a refugee camp beside the Syrian-Turkish border in Qtma town, Idlib countryside December 18, 2014. Picture taken December 18, 2014. 

In one of the Islamic State's (IS) latest YouTube videos, children stand in formation, reciting and chanting the orders of an instructor. The children, as young as five or six, are training to be fighters.

“God is great,” they shout. The video then shows the children kneeling in a circle, listening to the trainer explain how they are part of Syria's “Farouq Institute,” which seems to be a training program. He calls the children “cubs of the caliphate,” saying they are receiving education about Islam and the teachings of martyrdom. He says that IS is preparing a new generation “to redeem Al-Aqsa” and that the newest fighters will help extend the caliphate “to Rome.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.