IS 'forcing children to join ranks in Mosul'

IS 'forcing children to join ranks in Mosul'
Iraqi official says Islamic State group recruiters have visited schools to pick children for military training, as Iraqi government forces prepare to retake city.
2 min read
12 May, 2015
IS has published a number of videos featuring child recruits
The Islamic State group is recruiting child soldiers in Mosul as the Iraqi government prepares to retake the city, according to a government official in Nineveh province.

Ahmad al-Jarba told al-Araby al-Jadeed that IS army recruiters forced children at a school in Mosul to line up in the playground and pledge allegiance to join "holy war".

Teachers were then told that an IS committee would visit the school in the coming days to conscript children.
The families, children and teachers have no right to contest the decision.

The IS group has recently published several videos showing children in combat fatigues wrestling, conducting military drills, and apparently smashing blocks of wood with their heads.

Another video shows a group of children, apparently armed with assault rifles, storming a fixed position in a training exercise. The IS calls its child recruits the "cubs of the caliphate".

Reports suggest IS has imprisoned dozens of locals in Mosul and killed a number of imams for refusing to tell young people Iraqis to fight for the group.

The official warned of a "humanitarian disaster" children were sent to fight for the IS.

Nineveh MP, Abd al-Rahman al-Liwizi, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that Shia-dominated Popular Mobilisation Militias would be needed if Iraq was to retake Mosul.

He said that residents in the city had nothing to fear from the Iranian-backed militias, who were accused of killing and mistrating Sunni civilians during the operation to retake Tikrit.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.