Transcript

Children of ISIS

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PRODUCED AND REPORTED BY EVAN WILLIAMS

There are tens of thousands of children now living under the control of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Children they are now actively recruiting as their next generation of fighters.

Ten-year-old Hamude was one of them.

CHILD: They showed us how to load and strip the guns and how to be in the shooting position. So we stripped them and assembled them and put them against the wall.

Getting independent information about ISIS military training of children isn't easy.

There are thousands of Syrian refugees now living in Turkish border towns most people are afraid to talk because they fear ISIS sympathizers are here too.

But some children were willing to speak out on condition of anonymity.

This 14-year old boy says he joined ISIS after they convinced him they were pure Muslims.

CHILD: I gave everything I had to Islamic State's victory because I thought it was being oppressed by everyone. They said you should give everything to them, even sacrifice yourself.

But when they threatened to kill his brother he says he lost faith in ISIS and fled.

ISIS propaganda videos show children being put through rigorous physical training.

But boys who've undergone ISIS training say they are also being taught something much more dangerous.

CHILD: In this religious military camp you learn something called "listening and obeying." You declare, "I must listen and obey even if I have to die."

ISIS calls these children "cubs of the caliphate."

The boy says from what he saw, children are being systematically recruited across ISIS-controlled territory into the three different ISIS fighting units.

CHILD: There are three army sections: the state army, the caliphate army and the Adnan Army.

This ISIS video shows a stage of basic training for children where they are coerced to commit violence -- all of this seemingly unaffected by hundreds of coalition air strikes.

It's physically hard but the main aim is to create a new army of unquestioning, and what ISIS deems, ideologically pure fighters.

CHILD: They are making a new generation for the Caliphate to fight infidels. There are many children who now have absolute loyalty.

It's that loyalty that ISIS is exploiting for another horrifying purpose.

It starts with showing the children videos of suicide attacks.

CHILD: The scenes are repeated again and again, and when a child sees them he thinks, "I want to do the same as them." So they go to ISIS and say, "I want to become a suicide bomber."

EVAN WILLIAMS: How young would be the youngest boy that wants to be a suicide bomber?

CHILD: The youngest I saw do an operation was eight years old.

EVAN WILLIAMS: Eight? That's just a child.

CHILD: Yes, and you will never be able to persuade him to give up his ideas.

Convincing young children to sacrifice their lives without question requires intensive indoctrination.

We tracked down an insider who says she was in charge of that process.

Until just a few weeks before we met this woman, she says she was an ISIS teacher who prepared girls as young as 10 for suicide attacks.

EMIL: We push them into jihad. We tell them that all of us will die martyrs and reach Heaven, all of us. It is written in the Quran you have to fight jihad. So we all have to join jihad for the sake of God and the Islamic State.

She too narrowly escaped after becoming disillusioned by the scale of the violence.

EMIL: The most important thing to make them understand is that [President] Bashar's state is infidel, that everyone should fight them, and that is God's word. mBasically they're brainwashing children.

These boys have also recently escaped ISIS-controlled Syria.

Now in Turkey, they attend weekly de-radicalization classes to counter the influence of ISIS indoctrination.

CHILD: They came when we enter the mosque and ask: "Do you pray?" And we say yes.

They say, "‘Do you love Baghdadi?" [the ISIS leader] We say yes.

Then they say, "Are you sure you love you love Baghdadi?" We answer of course.

"What about your relatives?" We say, "We don't know."

Children are taught to spy on their parents -- who risk death if they object to their children joining ISIS.

Boys are routinely gathered in town squares, where they're offered money and food to join ISIS and fed anti-western tirades.

MAN: Slaughter him.
Why?
Because he is an infidel.

This 10-year-old boy was among those ISIS tried to recruit.

CHILD: When they gather us they say, "Come with us and fight jihad in the name of God and you will enter Heaven."

They say, "You will enjoy, and we will give you lots of things."

And now many children have joined them.

The boys say they are sat in front of big screens and forced to watch videos of ISIS brutality, propaganda films like this which shows the recent execution of Syrian soldiers in Palmyra.

Ahmed is 11.

CHILD: They showed us how they kill [President] Bashar's soldiers. Sometimes we tried not to watch. But when we did watch we were scared

They say they are forced to watch real executions too.

MAN: To Christians gathering to conquer our state: You will fail.

But perhaps most disturbingly of all, ISIS releases videos showing executions being carried out by boys themselves.

Like this boy who was shown beheading a Syrian officer in January.

Or this boy who apparently executed two alleged Russian spies.

Boys are told they too will be killed if they don't join ISIS by 16.

But death is not the only punishment for refusing to join ISIS.

Omar is 14.

He had been serving with moderate opposition forces.

ISIS fighters captured and then tortured him to try to force him to join them.

OMAR: I was strung up and tortured for a month and a half. They were saying: "Why don't you pledge allegiance to Islamic State? Why don't you fight against the non-Muslims with us?" But they are slaughtering Muslims.

He says he refused to join and was sentenced to a horrifying
punishment.

OMAR: They gathered the people, they tied my hand and leg. They put my hand on a wooden block, and cut my hand off with a butcher's knife, then cut off my foot and put them in front of me to see.

These photos show Omar's actual amputation, and the man, known as "the Bulldozer," who severed his limbs.

Omar's amputations were carried out just three weeks before we met him. He'd escaped Syria only days before.

The price of his defiance is constant pain and depression.

OMAR: When I leave my house I don't return until night because of the stairs.

Since they cut my hand and foot I have given up on life. I cannot walk. I cannot hold anything.

Omar's public punishment was used as a warning to children not to resist ISIS.

OMAR: They brought children and teenagers and told them: "This man is a infidel so we will cut his hand and foot. All those who fight against us will have their feet and hands cut off."

The children of this new ISIS army are taught that their ultimate purpose is to launch more attacks on the West.

VIDEO: Here, here, here, comes the State of Islam.

It will vanquish Bashir (and his daughter) Bushra the lowlifes and the infidels.

Here comes the State of Islam.

The World Trade Center was turned into rubble.

If they call me a terrorist, I will consider it an honor.

EMIL: In the future they say they will attack and destroy many countries. That is what they have got planned. God willing, they will fail.

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