Rebels fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad have enlisted children to their ranks, a video uploaded to the internet by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows.
The video is made up of a collection of videos that have been filmed throughout the past year in various parts of Syria. It shows that even the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, which is considered moderate, has enlisted children.
Some of the children speak about “jihad for the sake of Allah.”
According to a recent report by the British-based Oxford Research Group, more than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war, including 128 killed by chemical weapons in a notorious attack near Damascus in August.
A recent video that was posted to the internet illustrates the impossible reality of the life children live in Syria.
The video was shot in the Jubar neighborhood of Damascus, which suffers from shelling by the Syrian military. The children, aged up to 12 or 13, are standing in the street and telling the cameraman about their harsh experiences during the civil war, and about injuries to other children that they have witnessed.
As they are speaking, a loud explosion takes place close to where the group is standing, and thick smoke envelops the street. The children and the cameraman run away from the location and the filming resumes again in a safer place, in one of the homes nearby.
Some of the extremist jihadist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win the hearts and minds of local Syrians. They have done this by holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
Shortly after the August chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus, a video posted to YouTube showed Syrian children in a message to the U.S. Congress, asking its members to support a military strike in Syria.