Video of a young boy believed to be four years old and firing rounds from an assault rifle has surfaced online.
The boy is seen pulling the trigger of an AK-47, a gun much larger than him, as his father stands behind him. The gun seems almost too heavy for him as it’s propped up on a street barricade and its recoil knocks him back.
His father is heard offering his son words of encouragement in Arabic. Shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is Greater,” can also be heard.
The boy is later seen in the video smiling and talking with the adults filming him.
Officials say it is further evidence of jihadists grooming children to become soldiers, according to the Daily Mail.
Images of young children, between the ages of nine and 15, being trained to use weapons in a jihad training camp have been circulating on the web as of late. International experts say the use of child soldiers is a trend seen in the Syrian civil war.
“Syria is unique to any other conflict we’ve worked in over the last 20 years,” Kate Adams, policy and advocacy manager at London-based charity War Child told FoxNews.com. “Children do seem to have been targeted by both sides, more than we might necessarily see in other conflicts. Children are being used almost as pawns of the way and not just as collateral damage.”
Children are not only being trained as soldiers, but thousands have been casualties of the country’s civil war so far. Nearly 130,000 children have died because of the country’s bombings and use of chemical weapons, Fox News reports.
Adams told FoxNews.com that younger children run a higher risk than older children of being manipulated to become soldiers.
“I was in the region recently and spoke to two brothers aged 5 and 8,” Adams said. “We asked them, ‘What do you want for your future?’ The five-year-old said he wanted a gun so he can fight for his country, yet the 8-year-old said he wanted a laptop and to go back home You can see that the very young children are very impressionable to this kind of violence, and the social damage that this is going to cause inter-generationally could be huge and incredibly wrong.”
Source: Daily Mail, FoxNews.com