Indeed, Daesh devotes much attention to establishing special training camps for children between the ages of 5-12. According to the organization's propaganda videos, one of these camps, Farouk Institute for Cubs, is located in the province of Raqqa in Syria.
What are Islamist "cubs" being taught?
A 24-page Daesh document obtained by the Guardian reads that the camp education includes "Sharia sessions in [jurisprudence], doctrine and rulings, with special sessions in Islamic society and manners, and training on bearing light arms and the principles of use."
The day usually starts at 4:00 am with prayers, followed by lectures in Islamic studies from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. However, a considerable part of the time is devoted to military training.
"Training on bearing arms and principles of use" means that the children are being taught to kill. Under the personal supervision of their "instructors", young children and teenagers behead prisoners captured by Daesh.
For instance, in July 2015, Daesh released a 10-minute video of the execution of 25 Syrian soldiers in Palmyra. The shooting of the prisoners was carried out by children; some of the executioners appeared to be less than 10 years old.
Gruesome images released on the Internet show boys playing with severed heads and posing beside the crucified body of a soldier.
Daesh indoctrinates children to hatred and violence, teaching them that it is good to kill "infidels" and "apostates" because they pose grave threat to Muslims.
Teenagers over 16 who have been trained in Daesh camps often participate in military operations or execute suicide attacks.
Furthermore, Daesh has repeatedly used mentally challenged children as suicide bombers, according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
It still remains unclear how many military training camps for minor children have been established in the Daesh-controlled zones. Jihadists claim that there are hundreds of "education centers" for "Islamic State cubs."
Lots of would-be fighters are being recruited in mosques, and sometimes in the streets of the towns occupied by Daesh. Since most of schools have been closed, many children enroll for Islamist camps. Reportedly, Daesh is "generously" paying the parents of young jihadists.
In Germany in the 1930s, the National Socialist German Worker's Party expanded its infamous Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend), an organization for high school-aged boys. Younger boys (aged 10-14) could join the German Youth (Deutsches Jungvolk). In these paramilitary organizations, German boys were indoctrinated in the ethnocentric, militaristic, eugenics-oriented values of the party and primed for instigating the Second World War and the holocaust.
The use of young children in warfare has become more pronounced since the end of WWII; they were used extensively in the civil wars which were fought in the 1990's in Liberia and Sierra Leone and in more recent insurrections in Uganda and northern Nigeria. According to the United Nations, Daesh-affiliated Boko Haram has deployed children as young as 8 years of age to the front lines for use as human shields.
In the eyes of the jihadists, this generation of children is the next generation of the "Islamic Caliphate", which will continue to fight against Western civilization and their Muslim counterparts who reject fundamentalist Islam.