Recent testimony from a former teenage ISIS fighter is providing further insight into the unusual training process that the Islamic State is using to prepare hundreds of children to join the group's military and police ranks. The youth's account also shows how children are being cruelly utilized once they complete the training.
As ISIS has posted much to its social media accounts bragging how it is training the "cubs of the Islamic State," a 15-year-old former jihadi, speaking under the pseudonym of "Yasir," told CNN's Arwa Damon earlier this week that ISIS' training of child fighters requires one month of separation from loved ones, and also includes intense religious indoctrination and deadly military exercises.
Additionally, Yasir's testimony highlights how ISIS is putting child fighters at direct risk of harm once they pass training and join the ranks by forcing them to stand guard while wearing suicide vests. more >>
The Nigerian army has claimed a rare victory over terror group Boko Haram with news that it has recaptured the northeastern town of Mubi. The Islamic militants, however, have in turn raided the town of Chibok, where in April they kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls and later sold them off.
BBC News reported that residents in Mubi have seen an unspecified amount of bodies belonging to the terror group in the town. The Nigerian army has said that Mubi, along with several other villages in the area, are being successfully recaptured from Boko Haram's control.
The militants apparently renamed Mubi as the "city of Islam" in October. The jihadis reportedly implemented Sharia Law on the people, and carried out executions and amputations as punishments. more >>
Terror group ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is reportedly alive and has posted a new audio message where he's said that the jihadis will "not stop fighting" against the U.S.-led coalition powers. Al-Baghdadi was believed to have been wounded in an airstrike on a convoy of militants in Iraq last week.
"Even if only one soldier of them remained, they will never abandon fighting, because they defy humiliation and injustice," the voice in the audio recording says. "They will never abandon fighting, because they did not taste honor and dignity except by fighting. They will never abandon fighting. Indeed, they are triumphant. They will be triumphant even if only one man of them is left. They are triumphant and upon certainty of Allah's support for them."
CNN reported that the 17-minute audio message was spread around ISIS social media websites, but it can't be established with certainty if the man speaking who identified himself as al-Baghdadi is indeed the ISIS leader, or when the message was recorded. more >>
Despite the fact that Islamic State leaders have their eyes set on expanding the caliphate outside of Iraq and Syria, a recent poll surveying respondents from seven Arab nations and refugees in Syria found that ISIS is overwhelmingly unpopular among people there.
A telephone poll, conducted by the Arab opinion index team at the Qatar-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, surveyed respondents from Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestinian territory, and Syria (refugees) and found that 85 percent of its respondents view the Islamic State terrorist organization as "negative" or "negative to some extent." Only 11 percent of the respondents said they held "positive" or relatively positive views on ISIS.
The survey also found that nearly six in 10 respondents "strongly support" or "support" the U.S.-led coalition's aims to destroy ISIS, although 75 percent said they have "negative" or "negative to some extent" opinions about U.S. foreign policy in the Arab region. About one-third of the respondents said they either "strongly oppose" or "oppose" the international coalition's efforts. more >>
Russian troops and tanks have been photographed entering Ukraine as the ceasefire in the Eastern European country has all but collapsed. The U.S. responded by accusing the Russian administration of talking peace while at the same time fueling war with its every action.
"The pattern is clear," Samantha Power, the American envoy to the U.N., told the Security Council on Wednesday. "Where Russia has made commitments it has failed to meet them."
"Russia has negotiated a peace plan and then systematically undermined it at every step. It talks of peace but it keeps fueling war." more >>
Iraqi military officials said Tuesday that Iraqi forces have retaken control of the government headquarters and nearly three-quarters of the strategic oil town of Beiji, which is located about 155 miles north of Baghdad and houses Iraq's largest oil refinery.
However, it is unclear as to whether the Iraqi soldiers have yet retaken control of the the oil refinery, which was captured by ISIS militants over five months ago and lies on the outskirts of the town. The refinery accounts for nearly one-quarter of Iraq's oil and has the estimated capacity of producing 320,000 barrels of oil each day.
Al Jazeera reports that retaking control of the town will be key for Iraqi forces to establish a base to attack neighboring town of Tikrit, which was another town captured by ISIS fighters this past summer. more >>