Recent testimony from a former teenage ISIL fighter is providing further insight into the unusual training process that the terrorist group 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 ISIL 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(as they called), speaking under the pseudonym of “Yasir,” told CNN earlier this week that ISIL’ 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 ISIL 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.
Yasir originally got involved in the conflict when he and his father joined the ISIL-affiliated al-Nursa Front. Once ISIL took control of the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, Yasir said he and his father swore allegiance to the ISIL.
Upon pledging his allegiance to ISIL, Yasir was isolated from his father and taken to a training camp where he could be given a full month of proper training and where he was not even allowed to see or speak to any friend or family member.
“I spent a month without seeing my family or anyone that I knew,” Yasir said. “It was forbidden to see or speak to anyone.”
Yasir said that he was joined in the training by about 100 other kids and they would undergo intense schooling designed to ingrain ISIL’ radical and violent brand in their young, naive minds.