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The 'Caliphate Cubs' of IS

According to witnesses, the Islamic State has been recruiting children in Iraq and Syria and enrolling them in special training camps.
Children, who fled from the violence in Mosul, play during sunset inside the Khazer refugee camp on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region, June 27, 2014. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most influential Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, called on the country's leaders on Friday to choose a prime minister within the next four days, a dramatic political intervention that could hasten the end of Nuri al-Maliki's eight year rule. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS SOCIETY TPX IMAGES

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — Children have lost their innocence under the rule of the Islamic State (IS). They have become machines of massive destruction that are being calculatedly and calmly gathered to produce a harsher and more extreme army of the future generation. They are also a challenge to the future fight against extremism.

Samir Abdul Aziz (a pseudonym) is a former lawyer who lost his job following IS' closure of many of the law schools in Mosul. In a phone interview with Al-Monitor, Abdul Aziz said it was difficult for him to determine the exact number of children fighting under the IS banner. However, based on information he gathered from people close to the group, he said that IS has been training child soldiers in special camps in Mosul.

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