The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has trained more than 400 children in Syria as fighters in 2015 alone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said March 24.
Calling them “Cubs of the Caliphate,” the jihadist group provides intense military and religious training to children throughout its areas of control in Syria, the Britain-based monitor said.
Sleek videos published by ISIL-affiliated accounts show boys — some appearing to be as young as eight years old — loading and firing guns and crawling through sandy brush as part of military training.
The footage also shows children gathered around a table studying religious texts.
Once the boys turn 15, they are given the option to become full-fledged fighters with salaries, said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
“ISIL officials try to woo children with money, weapons and teaching them how to drive cars,” he said.
He said the children aren’t forced to fight, but “since there are no (non-ISIL) schools, no work, this is what kids do during the day”…