Life in Rural Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan|opinion & analysis|February 23, 2017 / 04:40 PM
ISIS training child jihadists and soldiers, including from Kyrgyzstan

AKIPRESS.COM - Daesh militant group, so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is training child jihadists and soldiers, including from Kyrgyzstan, the Stabilisation Network project supervisor Gwen Lene told AKIpress.

"About 300 Kyrgyzstanis live in or fight alongside the Islamic State today," he said.

According to him, "many of them are originated from Osh region."

The new phenomenon was observed in ISIS recruitment strategy  — they started recruiting the entire families, he said. Thus, the number of children trained by ISIS is increasing. Most of the families recruited by ISIS are single mothers with children or mothers with children who leave their husbands for Syria, he said.

"Unfortunately, the number of ISIS child fighters is increasing. I can't say the number of child jihadists [suicide militants] originating from Kyrgyzstan, but they [ISIS] have child jihadists and fighters from Kyrgyzstan," said Lene.

In majority of cases, children arrive in Syria through Russia, Turkey and Georgia with their families, he added.

A February report from UK-based counter-terrorism think-tank Quilliam says that an estimated 88,300 unaccompanied children – identified by the EU statistics agency Eurostat as having gone missing – were at risk of being radicalised by ISIS. Report says that ISIS is paying the smugglers’ fees of child refugees in a desperate attempt to attract new recruits.

Quilliam said that ISIS had offered up to $2,000 to recruit within camps in Lebanon and Jordan.

In February 2016, the U.S.-based Combating Terrorism Center reported that the self proclaimed Islamic State is mobilizing children and youth at an increasing and unprecedented rate. The researchers recorded and analyzed child and youth “martyrs” eulogized by the Islamic State between January 2015 and January 2016. The data suggested that the number of child and youth militants far exceeds current estimates. 

Thus, from January 1, 2015, to January 31, 2016, 89 children and youth were eulogized in Islamic State propaganda, according to the report of Combating Terrorism Center. Fifty-one percent were alleged to have died in Iraq, while 36 percent died in Syria. The remainder were killed during operations in Yemen, Libya, and Nigeria. Sixty percent of the sample was categorized as “Adolescent” based on Islamic State photographs, 34 percent were classified as “Older Adolescent,” and 6 percent were “Pre-Adolescent.” Thirty-one percent were Syrian, 25 percent Syrian/Iraqi, and 11 percent Iraqi. The remaining 33 percent were from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Libya, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and Nigeria.

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