Child soldiers line the frontline of Syrian Opposition forces

Jihadi Juniors and Caliphate Cubs

ISIS, Palmyra, Kids, Teen, Executioners, Video Still
ISIS, Palmyra, Kids, Teen, Executioners, Video Still

On February 6, 2016, Islamist “opposition” groups put child fighters on the frontline during an assault on Syrian Armed Forces. The Islamist groups were a coalition of groups consisting of al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat al-Nusra), the US-backed Free Syrian Army, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham, and Harakat Nouriddeen al-Zinki (click here and here to see details about these “opposition” groups).

The “Jihadi Junior” assault occurred during a battle in Aleppo’s northern countryside.

Syrian Armed Forces had liberated several towns from these Islamist groups during the previous days and the Islamist coalition rallied and came back with the child fighters.

Soldiers in the Syrian Forces reported that a very large number of child soldiers were placed on the frontlines of the assault. Many reported that the majority of the children were pre-teens, estimated between the ages of 10-12 years old.

It has been well known that ISIS has child training camps for girls and boys. ISIS posts video and still photos from these camps frequently. The children spend several hours every day memorizing the Quran, learning how to conduct suicide bombings, and training for battle.

They are also trained to be executioners (as shown in the photos). Now it seems that the various “opposition” groups, who consist primarily of foreign fighters funded by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are also using child fighters.

Syrian Army members who were confronted by these children were so alarmed at such a large presence of child fighters that they retreated.

Child fighters have been used by “opposition” groups in large cities such as Aleppo and Damascus, but have never used this large number of a child “army” on the front lines before.

Last year ISIS repeatedly displayed new arrivals of child fighters from various countries, such as Chechnya (see photo here).

It makes you wonder who the “refugees” waiting at the Turkish border really are.

Photo credit BB4SP video still.

Cheri Berens lives in Egypt working as a researcher for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. She experienced Egypt’s 2011 and 2013 revolutions and witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood takeover and violence that followed.