Asmall child crawls commando-style under barbed wire, shouting “God is Great!” as his Islamic State (IS) “trainers” fire shots at the ground inches in front of his face.
The boy at the terrorist training camp in the shocking, 34-second video appears to be under the age of 10. He has straight, roughly shoulder-length hair and is dressed in military fatigues.
It is the latest instance of Russian-speaking IS militants going beyond merely dressing up their tots to show devotion to the radical Islamist group, and actually instructing them in the ways of warfare.
The clip was shared on the Facebook page of an IS militant from Kazakhstan, Abu Aisha al-Kazakhi, on October 14. The boy looks similar in age, size, and appearance to Abu Aisha’s son Abdrakhman, though his face is never seen — and Abu Aisha deleted an initial Facebook comment in which he suggested the child was his.
But over the past few months Abu Aisha, who also goes under the name Artyom Andreyev, has posted a number of videos and photographs of Abdrakhman being trained and indoctrinated as one of the “next generation” of IS militants.
Abdrakhman, who is under 10, has been pictured dressed in military fatigues, brandishing various weapons and repeating pro-IS slogans.
In one video, Abdrakhman is shown holding a handgun and yelling praise to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In another photograph, the young child is standing next to his elder sister and Abu Aisha’s daughter, a small girl of about 10. He is wielding what looks like a hunting knife.
A third photograph shows Abdrakhman standing outside a juice bar, apparently in Mosul. The child is dressed in military fatigues and is holding a gun, probably a toy weapon.
Dressing babies and toddlers as fighters has emerged as a trend among Russian-speaking IS militants, who are seeking to show their devotion to the IS group.
But photos and videos posted on the personal social-media accounts of IS fighters like Abu Aisha reveal an even more disturbing trend of parents training their children to think and fight like adult militants.
Abu Aisha, who has maintained several accounts on Facebook and the Russian social-networking site VKontakte, has posted about how he wants his son to be brought up in IS’s violent interpretation of Islam.
In June, Abu Aisha vowed in a post on his now-deleted VKontakte account that he would raise his two children in the “Islam and the Islamic State.”