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    Swedes Perplexed by 'Daesh Children' Falling Between the Cracks

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    Earlier this week, a three-year-old Swedish boy died on Daesh-controlled territory in Syria. Reportedly, the boy's mother joined the terrorists, and the child was playing with a hand grenade when it suddenly exploded. This tragic incident stirred strong reactions from both the Swedish police and human rights watchdogs.

    In 2015, the woman decided to move from Sweden to Daesh's territory in Syria along with her children. According to Swedish national broadcaster SVT, her Facebook page featured photographs of her children posing with guns. Such imagery is not unusual for Daesh, as the terrorists' children are often seen posing in soldier uniform with both real and toy weapons.

    Like many other families living under Daesh rule, the family from Sweden had weapons in their Syrian home. The weapon stash reportedly included Kalashnikovs and grenades. The boy reportedly found one of the grenades and played with it until it went off. One of the older siblings saw his brother die and was injured by shrapnel. After the boy's death, the family returned to Sweden without social services receiving any information about it. The local police lashed out against the security services' ham-handed handling of children returning or escaping from Daesh.

    "This is very bad. It could have disastrous consequences, of course, so the information must be shared between competent bodies and agencies," Ulf Merlander of the Gothenburg police force told SVT.

    Their criticism was shared by Sweden's children's ombudsman Fredrik Malmberg, who called for better protection of children and a more active collaboration with the country's security services.

    "The children may have seen terrible things, and it is extremely important that the Security Service follows up on these kids and their parents when they come back to Sweden and sees to that they get all necessary social aid," Malmberg told SVT.

    Today, Daesh is undoubtedly one of the world's most dangerous terrorist organizations. Sweden's Security Police SÄPO estimates that at least 120 men and women have joined Daesh and still remain in the Middle East. Many of the terrorist émigrés took their children along, whereas others gave birth there. A rough estimate showed that at least 60 Swedish children are Daesh members today. However, the real figure could be much higher, SVT reported.

    Life in the so-called "caliphate" is essentially about armed jihad in order to fight and die for Allah, and children are thus introduced to the armed struggle early on.

    "They do have weapons training. It's like any other vocation children tend to play. Gradually, the games become more serious the older you get. Then, there are also training camps," Betty Byvald former committee secretary of the National Coordinator against extremism, told SVT.

    "These children return home with experiences beyond understanding. They have lived in terror and fear. These children are twice betrayed: first, the parents bring them down [to Daesh], then we fail to notice them," Byvald concluded.

    Topic:
    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)

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    Tags:
    Middle East, child, Daesh, Scandinavia, Sweden, Syria
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