ISIS is reportedly recruiting more children in recent months because many adults have deserted, been killed by enemy fire or executed as traitors by ISIS (video below).
“Reports that we’re getting from the ground that there are more and more defectors, but also that increasingly Daesh [a derogatory Arabic name for ISIS] is relying on child soldiers,” U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said on March 15, notes Rudaw.
“Originally they would rely on children for intelligence streams,” Kirby added, but now the terrorists are using kids “to conduct suicide attacks.”
“Those are good indications that they are struggling with their ability to recruit and to retain manpower.”
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According to RT, ISIS has a personnel problem because it has cut the pay of its fighters in half, and some have defected to rival Islamist groups. The terrorist organization has also suffered a loss of oil revenue and supply routes.
“They killed us, they called us infidels, doubted us," one of the defectors said in a video. "We supported them and they doubted us."
ISIS reportedly executed eight of its Dutch fighters for attempted desertion in Raqqa, Syria, in February. There are also rumors of witch hunts by ISIS on its own members who are deemed “infidels.”
In response to this growing losses, ISIS is recruiting and kidnapping children to serve in its ranks, and releasing videos of the youngsters' bizarre indoctrination, which includes religious lessons, guns and murder.
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In one video purportedly made in Syria, armed children, who appear to be less than 8 years old, are led by adult ISIS fighters in a lethal hide-and-seek game through some ancient ruins.
The children are taken to prisoners, who have their hands tied behind the backs, and told to execute them with guns. The prisoners are derisively called "sons of Jews" and have been accused of spying for the Syrian government.
A 4-year-old boy, who is nicknamed Jihadi Junior, is seen in another disturbing video released in February. The child pushes a button on a remote control and blows up three prisoners, reports RT.
ISIS reportedly kidnapped about 400 Yazidi children in Iraq in January.