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Over 50 ISIS child
soldiers killed in 2015

The SOHR has documented 52 casualties among the ranks of ISIS' Cubs of the Caliphate.

ISIS child soldiers. (YouTube/ISIS Wilayat al-Raqqa)

BEIRUT – Dozens of ISIS child soldiers have been killed in Syria since the extremist group first introduced them to combat in the beginning of 2015, according to a monitoring NGO.

 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Wednesday that it has documented the death of 52 child soldiers under the age of 16 fighting in ISIS’ Ashbal al-Khilafa (Cubs of the Caliphate) unit.

 

The Observatory said it has been monitoring the casualties starting from the initial deployment of the Cubs of the Caliphate against Kurdish fighters in Kobane in mid-January up until the evening of July 14.

 

“At least eight of them detonated themselves using vehicles bombs,” the group noted, adding that the latest three child suicide bombings occurred on July 6 in ISIS operations targeting Kurdish troops in northern Syria.

 

ISIS’ official Wilayat al-Raqqa media account celebrated one of the July 6 suicide bombings, saying that Abu Khattab al-Ansari had killed approximately 50 Kurdish fighters. ISIS supporters online said Ansari was only 14 years old.

 

There has been a dramatic rise in ISIS Cubs of the Caliphate casualties in recent weeks, with the SOHR reporting that 31 children had lost their lives in July in “explosions, clashes and airstrikes conducted by the international coalition as well as the Syrian regime.”

 

The monitoring NGO added it that it has received reports of “dozens of other child soldier casualties” that it has not been able to confirm.

 

ISIS has recruited over 400 children for its Cubs of the Caliphate unit since January amid an enlistment drive that has seen the extremist group open up recruitment centers in the eastern Syrian towns of Al-Mayadeen and Bou Kamel, according to a March 24 report published by the SOHR.

 

The report said that ISIS “induces parents and guardians to send their sons to these [centers], where the children undergo to Sharia and military courses.”

 

“ISIS also tries to lure the children with money, weapons and cars in order to convince them to join.”

 

SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman told Reuters that ISIS uses children “because it is easy to brainwash them.”

 

“They can build these children into what they want, they stop them from going to school and send them to ISIS schools instead.”

ISIS child soldiers. (YouTube/ISIS Wilayat al-Raqqa)

At least eight of them detonated themselves using vehicles bombs.