Like ISIS “Caliphate Soldiers” | Iranian-backed militias in Deir Ezzor recruit children in military formation dubbed “Caliphate Cubs”
As the Iranian militias’ techniques are similar to the ISIS’, Iranian-backed militias are seeking to raise a new generation of fighters in areas under their control adopting and tracking their ideology and “dying for them”. ISIS had established a military formation dubbed the “Caliphate Soldiers” which included children in its ranks.
The Iranian-backed militias are exerting diligent efforts to attract children to join their ranks through advocacy, cultural and leisure activities held in the Iranian Cultural Centre and the militias’ advocacy centres in schools, parks, markets and entertainment places. These centres distribute candy and show short movies glorifying the Iranian-backed militias, praising their efforts to liberate the people from the grip of terrorism and motivating to the glorious jihad and “the Liberation of Palestine”.
The Iranian militias rely on social media and distributing brochures containing addresses and phone numbers of the Iranian centres in order to spur children to join these centres.
It is worth noting that many children have joined these cnetres, particularly the children who had been in ISIS military formation of the “Caliphate Soldiers”. Furthermore, the local encourage their children to join the Iranian-backed militias in order to evade prosecution by regime security branches, especially since the Iranian militias provides impunities to the little recruits’ families.
As soon as the children join the Iranian-backed militias, they undergo a 25-day ideology course and another 25-day military course in closed camps in al-Mazare’ area in al-Mayadeen desert in Deir Ezzor countryside. The children later are sorted out and distributed to the militias’ posts and headquarters.
It is worth noting that al-Mazare’ area hosts the largest gathering of Iranian-backed militias in east Euphrates region, while every militias has its own training camp.
Iranian-backed militias combat each others to recruit children after the general leadership has ordered these militias to intensify recruitment of children in that region. While the most prominent Iranian-backed militias that work on recruiting children in Syria are as follows:
- Liwaa Fatemiyoun: an Afghani commander called al-Haj Ali Talibi supervises this militias’ camp.
- Al-Nujabaa Movement: an Iraqi commander called Mahdi al-Musawy supervises this militias’ camp.
- The local militia of Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas: a local commander called Rubain al-Wahibi supervises this militias’ camp.
- The local militia of al-Sayeda Zeinab: a local commander called Abu Ali al-Duwayhi supervises this militias’ camp.