Mosul – Despite his young age, Mohammed Ahmed of Ibrahim Khalil village in Mosul was one of ISIS’ most dangerous snipers.
Shortly after ISIS took over Mosul city in June 2014, Ahmed, 14, joined the terrorist organization and began his training on all types of weapons. His skills developed rapidly until he became one of the most skilled and dangerous members.
Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper toured the southeastern villages and cities of Mosul where it met Ahmed who was arrested along with his father and uncle. After several attempts, the Iraqi army allowed the newspaper to speak to the boy before being transferred with other ISIS militants to the headquarters for interrogation.
Mohammed began telling the story of when ISIS first took control over Mosul and how his father gathered the weapons of the police in their village and handed them over to ISIS militants as a gift. He described the relations his family had with the organization as strong, which later contributed in making them in charge of their town and other nearby towns.
Ahmed said he was fascinated by the way the militants dressed and the weapons they carried, and after encouragement from his father he joined ISIS.
He was then sent to Raqqa, Syria, for training and was assigned to the children’s camp where thousands were receiving their training.
He explained the detailed drills they received which included physical training and intensive educational courses. They would wake up at four in the morning and finish late in the afternoon.
Ahmed said that they were taught the organization’s ideologies as well as military and physical training on how to use all kinds of weapons, make bombs and execute attacks – as well as training on assassination, torture, and how to engage in combats.
“We used to try killing and execution on detainees arrested by ISIS and armed men who disobeyed the organization’s laws,” he added.
According to Ahmed, he was trained for six months in “Farouq” Camp on snipping and killing and most trainers were Arabs and foreigners. He graduated from the camp among ISIS’ “top” snipers.
He admitted that he participated in battles in Iraq and Syria, but his most prominent battles where in Iraq. He supervised several checkpoints and executions.
“I pledged my allegiance to ISIS and was involved with it,” he acknowledged.
Due to the decline in its adult members, ISIS resorted to enrolling children labelled as “Scouts of the Caliphate” to perform terrorist operations.
Citizens in liberated areas reported that ISIS resorted to luring teenagers and children with money, guns, and cars. The organization assured the young members that they would live luxuriously among members.
Shortly after their enrollment, ISIS leaders would tell the young recruits they have to fight on the frontlines or else they will be executed for disobeying the orders.
Since 2014, the terrorist organization opened dozens of training camps for young members between ages of 5 and 17. The most important two camps are “Farouq” and “Scouts of the Caliphate“.
Some of the children in the camps joined willingly, while others were enrolled by their parents for $200, and some were kidnapped when ISIS took control over cities in Anbar and Saladin.
Informed sources reported that there are about 4500 children in ISIS camps, 2000 from Nineveh.
Alaa Khalid, Iraqi soldier, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army captured Ahmed along with four others while their displaced families were moving from one of the Namroud area villages.
Khalid said that villagers told the security forces about Ahmed and he was arrested after further investigations.
Residents in Mosul liberated areas said that ISIS used their children for spying as well. They would report back to their commanders about citizens and their movements.
The terrorist organization brainwashed the children into believing that Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, ISIS “caliph”, was their father.