IS shows ‘army of orphans’

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In its latest propaganda video, the Islamic State militant group has claimed numerous orphans, as young as 10, who lost their parents due to the ongoing war in Syria, are becoming thirsty for revenge. The disturbing footage 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’s nasheed tune sung in French.

US President Barack Obama, Russian and French leaders Vladimir Putin and François Hollande, alongside Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad are shown in the video. Russia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry are also seen in the footage.

Besides the scenes of rubble, the video, 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 they 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, the Russia Today television channel reported Sunday.

Islamic State has been using children on the battlefield as well for propaganda purposes since its formation. They have been seen showcasing their skills in a number of videos published by the militant group online. 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.

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