ISIS Using Child Soldiers on Frontlines

ISIS has been conscripting child soldiers as young as 10-years-old to replenish frontline fighters as local ground forces and coalition airstrikes have pushed back the group’s advances in Iraq and Syria, US Central Command said. The group is “scraping … to replace fighters lost on the battlefield, and moving to younger and younger fighters,” CENTCOM spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder said. The group recently released propaganda videos of child soldiers training and even taking part in operations, along with executing prisoners. The coalition’s rules of engagement actively avoid striking innocent civilians and children, however, “the reality is if an ISIL fighter is armed and attacking, then that ISIL fighter is a military target,” Ryder said. Coalition estimates still say there are up to 30,000 fighters on the battlefield, even as coalition airstrikes target leaders and look to limit troop replenishment in the fight.