13:11 GMT01 June 2020
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    Footage obtained by a monitoring group shows children assisting Islamic State militants in carrying out beheadings of hostages.

    Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa
    © AP Photo / Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State
    A video released by the Islamic State shows teenagers and young boys under the age of 18 leading eight blindfolded captives to their death in Syria, a monitoring group reported on Sunday.

    Footage obtained by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights shows the boys, armed with rifles, taking the men to a field before handing knives to Islamic State militants, who force the victims to their knees before killing them.

    "We will not forget what the regime did in the 80s in Hama and we won’t forget any blood drop on that blessed land," the SOHR reports one of the Islamic State members as saying before carrying out the killings, adding that the organization vowed to get "revenge."

    The victims are reported to be Shia Muslims from the western Syrian province of Hama. In 1982, the country's then dictator, Hafez al-Assad, laid siege to Hama, the country's fourth-largest city, in response to a Sunni uprising led by the Muslim Brotherhood. The incident culminated in a bloody massacre by Syrian military forces, with reports of between 10,000 and 40,000 people killed.

    Last week the SOHR reported that the Islamic State continues to recruit children to the ranks of what is called the "Ashbal al-Khilafah," or "cubs of the caliphate." According to its sources, at least 400 children have joined the organization since the beginning of this year in areas of Syria held by the Islamic State, whose control extends across about one third of the country.

    The video is not the first to show the Islamic State's training of child soldiers. In November of last year the jihadists released a video called 'The Blood of Jihad 2' which showed young boys in the Iraqi province of Nineveh undertaking military training.

    In a report published in August last year, the UN reported that "Islamic Front-affiliated and other armed groups have recruited, trained and used children in active combat roles," and confirmed the existence of training camps which recruit children as young as ten and offer weapons training and religious education, as well as financial rewards.


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