IS is running children camps in Syria to train them skilled militias.As the terrorist group IS continues to strengthens its hold in Iraq and Syria, it is fill up its distorted ideas into young minds not able to grasp them.
A little boy Shadaab, (whose name has been changed out of fears for his safety), was one of such children who got training in one of IS children camps. He has now fled to safety in Turkey. He was just 13 when IS said he should attend one of their children’s camps in northern Syria.
“My friends and I were studying at the mosque, and they taught us that we should enrol in jihad with the [Islamic State].I wanted to go, but my father did not allow me to,” he told.
When IS found out that Shadaab’s father had prevented him from attending the IS camp, the militants sent a patrol to their house. “They told me if you prevent Shadaab from coming to the camp, we will cut off your head,'” his father told. So off he went to the camp. “For 30 days we woke up and jogged, had breakfast, then learned the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet,” Shadaab says. “Then we took courses on weapons, Kalashnikovs and other light military stuff.”
Some of the militants at the camp were kind, joking and laughing with the younger recruits. Others made the boys watch hideous things, he told. “They used to bring young kids to the camp to lash them,” Shadaab says. “When we go to the mosque, they order us to come the next day at a specific time and place to watch heads cut off, lashings or stonings. We saw a young man who did not fast for Ramadan, so they crucified him for three days, and we saw a woman being stoned [to death] because she committed adultery,” he added. Shadaab says he comprehended some of the lessons taught at the camp like the importance of prayer and fasting but didn’t understand words like “infidels,” and why he should fight them.
“He is only a child, they might make him a suicide bomber and convince him that will be in paradise and stuff like that,” his father said. Despite his fears, Shadaab’s father expressed uncertainty that the militants’ lessons would stick in his son’s mind.
Shadaab’s father was finally able to pull him out of the IS children camp, and the family fled to Turkey.