ISIS ‘army of orphans’ vows revenge in disturbing propaganda video
The footage created by the jihadist group’s media arm, Alhayat Center, starts off with a child walking across the ruins of a city destroyed during the Syrian conflict. Amid the scenes of destruction, the faces of Western leaders and politicians blend in with carefully drafted propaganda messages, accompanied by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) nasheed tune sung in French.
The terror group vowed payback for the “massacre” perpetrated by the West against the self-proclaimed caliphate in the name of “so-called precious freedoms,” the inserts read, reassuring followers that the extremist organization has enough means by which to defend their cause.
US President Barack Obama, Russian and French leaders Vladimir Putin and François Hollande, alongside Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad are shown in the video that vows vengeance. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterpart John Kerry are also seen in the footage, as examples of those who had committed crimes against ISIS.
Besides the scenes of rubble, the video entitled Blood for Blood also shows young boys in camouflage uniform forming an army of “orphans.” All are apparently of around 10 years of age, and the boys can be seen packing guns and ammo and assembling into a fighting unit. At least two Caucasian kids are seen in the video. The well-equipped child soldier squad is being instructed by an adult fighter.
Young “warriors” who had lost their parents to the anti-terror coalition intervention, the song warns, are thirsty for revenge and ready to sacrifice themselves. At the end of the video the unit departs, carrying a black flag, while the footage warns that ISIS orphans are growing and will be ready to strike everywhere.
Islamic State has been using children on the battlefield as well for propaganda purposes since its formation. The Ashbal al-Khilafa or “Cubs of the Caliphate” undergo military training and indoctrination in special camps. They have been seen showcasing their skills in a number of videos published by the terror group online.
In one of them, which was released in December last year, a group of young children participated in an appalling hide-and-seek game. The video titled “To the Son of Jews” showed children guided by a senior IS instructor executing one captive each by gunshot at a close range. The last boy, instead of shooting his prey, takes a knife and beheads the victim.
Another disturbing video showed a four-year-old infant, dressed in camouflage clothing and nicknamed Jihadi Junior, blowing up three prisoners by pressing a button on a remote control. The footage emerged February this year.
In March, ISIS showcased a video ISIS allegedly showing an orphanage full of children being trained as the next generation of fighters. From playing with toy guns to finally real weapons, the shots demonstrated ISIS' way of raising children.
According to a UN-endorsed report, prepared by a London-based think tank and entitled “Children of Islamic State” between August 1 last year and February 9 this year, a total of 254 events or statements featuring images of children in IS propaganda have been identified.