Two boys, ages 10 and 12, have had their hands publicly amputated by ISIS for refusing to execute civilians in front of their families in Mosul, Iraq. The boys are part of a child militia ISIS is using to beat back advancing Iraqi military forces.
According to the Chicago Tribune, in October 2016, when Iraqi and U.S. coalition forces began their offensive on the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, some 6 million people were living under the self-proclaimed caliphate's rule -- and 2 million of them were under 15 years old.
These children, some as young as 6, are taken by ISIS and trained to fight.
"We see kids drawing pictures of watching ISIS chopping off heads," said Chris Seiple, president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, which helps families escaping ISIS. "What do you do with that, besides weep?"
"What we learn is that education is not only part of their arsenal, but an entire theater of conflict," Jacob Olidort of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy added. "They're trying to create a jihadi generation. It's not just believing the right creed, but being able to fight. It's about convincing young people that only their perspective on the world is right and everyone else's is wrong."
According to the Daily Mail, public amputation is a punishment ISIS typically reserves for accused thieves. However, as the battle in Mosul continues to deplete ISIS, the group is shifting to more extreme and brutal tactics.
“I have never seen such hard fighting like this one, not because they have good fighters here, no the hardest fighters were in Ramadi, but here it’s maddening to fight amongst the civilians,” Lt. Col. Muntadher of the Iraqi military told The Guardian of the fight against ISIS in Mosul. “Our soldiers have to be very careful. We can’t just bomb a neighborhood and then go clear it, we have to fight from house to house and that is costing us men.”