The Islamic State terrorist organization has trained over 1,000 children in the last six months to become suicide bombers, according to an Iraqi human rights commission.
"Since last November, IS militants have trained more than a thousand children to become suicide bombers," Fadhil Kharawi, a member of the Iraqi Independent Commission for Human Rights, told reporters in Baghdad on Sunday.
The Kurdish news source BasNews reported that Kharawi also explained to the press that the barbaric militant group opened a "Cubs of the Caliphate" child training center in the group's northern Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, where children are taught suicide bombing tactics, brainwashed with ISIS' cruel ideology, and provided military and combat training for the battlefield.
As The Christian Post previously reported, a major recruiting strategy for the Islamic State has been getting children to join the militant group because they're easier to manipulate than adults.
Although some children may foolishly choose to join the group, many of the trained child soldiers are captured religious minority boys who've been brainwashed to accept ISIS' jihadi-brand of Islam, while mentally challenged children are fooled into joining the ranks and becoming suicide bombers.
"We have had reports of children, especially children who are mentally challenged, who have been used as suicide bombers, most probably without them even understanding," Renate Winter, an expert with the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child, told Reuters. "There was a video placed [online] that showed children at a very young age, approximately 8 years of age and younger, to be trained already to become child soldiers."
Other children have been forced to attend ISIS' training camps after the militant group shut down their schools. In January, it was reported that ISIS closed down schools in the three Syrian provinces under its control, which left an estimated total of over 670,000 children without the opportunity for a proper education.
For many of the children who've graduated from ISIS' training camp, the cruel reality of their suicidal tasks is forced upon them once they reach the front lines of the battlefield.
One 15-year-old captured Islamic State fighter, who was forced to train and join the group's military ranks after his Syrian town was conquered last summer, explained that ISIS drugs many of its child and adult fighters into committing suicide bomb attacks.
The 15-year-old, named Mufleh, added that an ISIS commander gave him the anti-anxiety drug Zolam in hopes it would give him the courage to commit a suicide attack while in the heat of battle.
"That drug makes you lose your mind," Mufleh told CBS News. "If they give you a suicide belt and tell you to blow yourself up, you'll do it."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that from Jan. 1 through March 23 ISIS recruited more children in Syria than it did adults. During that nearly three-month timespan, ISIS had recruited at least 400 children in Syria alone.
"They use children because it is easy to brainwash them," Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the SOHR, told Reuters. "They build these children into what they want. They stop them from going to school and send them to ISIS schools instead."
That being said, however, Turkey's parliamentary speaker Cemil Cicek claims that by the first quarter of the year authorities apprehended 12,500 people from 93 countries who were entering the country en route to join ISIS in Syria, according to an International Business Times report from March.
In a propaganda video released last Saturday, a teenage ISIS executioner is seen killing an alleged Iraqi spy by shooting him at point-blank range.
In early March, the group released another video showing a baby-faced child executioner shooting an alleged Israeli spy in the back of the head.
"The Islamic State has taken upon itself to fulfill the Ummah's [the global Muslim community] duty toward this generation by preparing it to face the crusaders and their allies in defense of Islam," an Islamic State magazine article justifying the use of child soldiers stated. "It has established institutes for the lion cubs to train and hone their military skills."