More than 300 ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) child soldiers were killed in the first two weeks of the battle for Mosul, according to an English human right watchdog group. As ISIS loses more and more ground to the coalition of troops intent on forcing the extremists from the city, its desperate attempt to hold its major stronghold in Iraq has included car bombs, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombings, and sending children, dubbed “lion cubs of the caliphate,” into battle.
The Daily Mail reported last week that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that ISIS had brought in child soldiers from Syria to do battle against the combined coalition forces — including Iraqi defense forces, Kurdish peshmerga, Shiite militias, and Turkish troops — aligned against the Islamic State.
“This will raise the death toll to at least 480 Syrian fighters killed in the ranks of the Islamic State since the start of the battles in the Mosul area, among them more than 300 child soldiers from the ‘lion cubs of the caliphate,'” the Observatory said.
The group reported that ISIS’ religious leaders had told residents in Syria that the losses in Dabiq — a symbolic town for ISIS where the Islamic extremists believe an apocalyptic battle will be fought and which it lost to the Turkish-backed rebels the day prior to the attack on Mosul — had been compensated with victory in Mosul.
Except instead of being victorious, ISIS is now losing Mosul block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood. It has been losing territory in the city since the operation to liberate Mosul officially began on October 17.
According to Rudaw, General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command, said near the end of October that between 800 and 900 ISIS militants had been killed in the fighting so far.
The Sun reported that more child soldiers were expected to die in the coming weeks as Mosul falls, and went on to compare the military use of the “cubs of the caliphate” to that of the Nazis, who, near the very end of World War II, sent members of the Hitler Youth into battle against seasoned Soviet troops.
The Sun noted that observers have found that the child soldiers of ISIS are far more fanatical, some going so far as to become suicide bombers for the extremists.
As the Inquisitr reported in August, ISIS has been actively recruiting and teaching youngsters for years. The organization, according to German and Dutch intelligence reports, has taken in recruits younger than 10 years of age, primarily due to the ease of impressing its radical belief system on the young.
The Daily Mail also reported that while the coalition forces pressed ISIS in Iraq’s second largest city, Shiite militia forces broke through and captured the main highway on November 2 between Mosul and Raqqa (ISIS’ capital in Syria), effectively cutting off the Islamic State’s ability to resupply its militants in Mosul. The militia, called Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), had joined the operation for the liberation of Mosul but, given that the city is overwhelmingly populated by Sunni Muslims and being sensitive to the ongoing animosities between the rival sects, decided that concentrating on retaking Tal Afar, a Shiite town to the west of the city, would be a better course of action.
As ISIS’ hold on Mosul weakens, the group continues to release propaganda videos that claim otherwise and exhorts its followers to continue to fight against its enemies. Last week, the Inquisitr reported that the Islamic State released a graphic video of prisoners being shot, stabbed, crucified, and put on pubic display in Syrian towns. That was soon followed by a shorter ISIS film that featured two beheadings and the horrific execution of a lone prisoner by using an artillery gun to literally tear his body to pieces.
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