The Islamic State militant group, which has been wreaking havoc across Syria and northern Iraq, released a propaganda video Tuesday that purports to show a young boy executing two men who "confessed to being Russian spies."
The video, which was released through the militant group's official propaganda outlet, al-Hayat Media, depicts a young child, thought to be around 10 years old, shooting two men identified as "agents recruited by Russian intelligence" in a nondescript desert, the Independent reports.
The boy appears to be the same one previously featured in a propaganda video showing the training of child soldiers in Kazakhstan.
We will not be linking to the full video, but this screen capture accurately conveys how horrifying this new dispatch from the militant group is:
Vocativ has a great analysis of the video:
Before their execution, the [Russian Federal Security Service] agents are interviewed. The first identifies himself as Mamayev Jambulat, who told his interviewers that he was sent to gather info on the Islamic State and to get closer to a [member of the group]. Jambulat said that he was born in Kazakhstan, which may explain why [the Islamic State militant group] used a Kazakh child soldier to carry out his execution. The second soldier is named as Ashimov Sergey Nikolayavich, who said that he previously worked in Russian intelligence, and was sent to locate and kill a specific [Islamic State] leader. Nikolayavich says during the interview that he received payment on a per-piece-of-info basis from Russian Intelligence. In the video, he also says that he was once a Muslim. None of his statements have been verified at this time and could very well be coerced in the interview under duress.
Just before the six-minute mark of the video, an [Islamic State] militant, accompanied by a child, reads a series of Quranic passages, before saying a few lines in Russian.
"Allah has gifted the Islamic State's security agency with the apprehension of these two spies," he says, with subtitles in Arabic and English. He continues: "By Allah's grace, they are now in the custody of the lion cubs of the Khilafah."
At that point, the child, armed with a handgun, steps forward and shoots the two kneeling captives in the back of the head
Children as sick, sick propaganda: Islamic State fighters and sympathizers are more than happy to hold up innocent children as burgeoning young jihadis in order to lure young Muslims from Western countries onto the battlegrounds of Syria and Iraq.
On the Internet, Islamic State sympathizers post photos of "mostly just tots posing before the increasingly iconic al-raya black flag," writes Gawker's Sam Biddle. "Most of these come from Twitter user Osman Iraqi, who maintains a feed consisting mostly of beheading video stills, Islamist cartoons and combat photos."
More than just models: Islamic State militants have been training children to function as suicide bombers at training camps across Syria. "We believe there are between 200 and 300 children in the camp," Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, a Syrian activist who monitors Islamic State activity in Raqqa, told the Telegraph:
In Raqqa city, [Islamic State] fighters often hold "festivals for children" as recruitment drives for the training camps.The camps are portrayed as "boy scouts clubs," where parents are told their children will learn about Islam and study the Holy Quran.
Once the children arrive at the Al-Sharea'I Camp, however, they are taught combat tactics, including suicide bombings, and brainwashed to support the group's ideology, Raqqawi said.
Some of the boys attending the camp are the sons of foreign fighters who have moved to Raqqa and of local [Islamic State militant group] supporters.
In some cases, however, [Islamic State militants have] been known to "kidnap" children, recruiting them to the camp without the knowledge or consent of the parents, Raqqawi said.
The children are at first trained to use Kalashnikov rifles and RPGs. They are then reportedly divided into separate groups: Some are taken to be trained as suicide bombers and others as regular fighters.
This video is more than just propaganda: It's a chilling reminder of sheer evil of the militant group.
"It's terrifying to see how these children change in a short time," Raqqawi told the Telegraph. "They are building a new generation of people who would do their bidding, including suicide bombings, without blinking."
h/t The Independent