'They said grab the head, pull it back and cut from the neck': Boy, 14, who featured in ISIS propaganda video reveals how he was taught how to kill and to hate at 'Cubs of Caliphate' terror camp

Daily Mail, UK/September 7, 2015

By Owen Holdaway

A Yazidi teenager has told how he was forced to feature in an Islamic State propaganda video at a training camp where innocent boys as young as five were trained to become killers.

Raghab Ahmed, 14, also revealed how ISIS fanatics made him pray in front of an AK47 and taught him how to behead 'infidels', telling him: 'Grab the head, pull it back and cut from the neck.'

The video, filmed in ISIS's de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria, showed Raghab and other 'Cubs of the Caliphate' performing military exercises with loaded assault rifles.

The family managed to escape with the help of a people smuggler, and Raghab has shared photos of jihadists he smuggled out of Syria on a memory stick he stole from a fighter.

The boy, his parents, younger brother Gayat and his sister were abducted by the extremists when they stormed across northern Iraq in August last year. The family still do not know if their father survived the invasion.

Raghab said: 'They [ISIS] taught us how to use a weapon and how to kill people.'

In the propaganda video he appeared in, the teenager sat beside an ISIS commander, a Saudi-national called Abu Walid, who he claims was involved in the group's vile sex slave trade.

Raghab said: 'He was a big trader. He was selling and buying people... He was a nasty person. He said Yazidis are infidels.'

Speaking from the relative safety of the Rwanga refugee camp just outside Dohuk, northern Iraq, the baby-faced teenager recalled the day his family were captured.

He said: 'They [ISIS] collected all the people in Kojo [village] in one school. They made three groups. First they took the men, then they took the women and females, and then they took the kids.'

Raghab said they killed the men, adding: 'I did not see them kill them, but heard the shooting and screaming.'

In one of the group's bloodiest ever invasions, the extremists slaughtered more than 5,000 Yazidi people and captured 500 women and children as they swept across the Sinjar region.

The terror group sees Yazidis, whose religion has elements of Christianity and Islam, as 'devil worshippers' and gives them the choice to convert to Islam or be killed under their twisted version of religious law.

Raghab's mother Kamila Hussin witnessed the massacre and told MailOnline: 'I saw how they made a line and started shooting.'

Raghab was then taken away from his mother, his sister, and younger brother and taken to Badush prison in Mosul.

He said: 'In the prison, they ordered us to open our hands and they beat us with a black stick.'

After 15 days of abuse, he was taken back to his family in a village near Tal Afar, north-west Iraq, where he stayed for three months with his mother.

During that time his mother was forced to work for several ISIS fighters. She said: 'ISIS men were coming and taking women [and] I also got beaten, when some of my friends ran away.'

After a brief stay in a 'farm' outside the city, the family was taken to a house in Raqqa where it has staged many public executions.

Quivering with emotion, the mother-of-three said: 'An ISIS man came [to the house] and said he would take my sons for basic training.'

Gayat, 11, who sat silently by his mother as she recounted this story, was lucky to avoid going to the terror camp.

'I hid my youngest son under some blankets… after that they came [back] and saw him and they tried to take him,' she said, adding: 'I said he was sick and you have already taken one of my sons.'

Despite this, the ISIS fighters still attempted to take her youngest son, and it was only after she told them 'he is teaching us the Quran' that they let him stay.

Meanwhile, her eldest son was taken to the Farouk Institute for Cubs – ISIS' terror camp – for training as a child jihadist.

The camp, which is in Raqqa in an 'underground' complex, was attended by around 65 students.

'About 50 were Yazidis and there were [also] 15 Muslims. The Muslims were volunteers. They were from Syria,' he explained.

He added: 'I did not like them as they volunteered for Daesh (ISIS). Nobody forced them to join, they joined because they liked them.'

The routine at the terror camp was 'difficult' with the boys having to get up at 4am to pray, then from 9 till 12 they were lectured in the ways of violent jihad, followed by military training until 5pm.

'They taught us how to use a weapon, load it, unload it… I did not like to shoot the weapon, but they ordered me to do it,' he explained.

The children were also shown how to kill.

'They showed us a video of how to behead. I did not like to see it, but they forced me to watch it. The man was a peshmerga [a Kurdish fighter]' he stated.

The softly spoken former ISIS trainee was also taught to hate his family.

'Yazidis are Kaffir (non-believers). If you see your father or your mother you have to behead them,' he was told by one of the ISIS instructors.

The terror group has sold and trafficked this religious group's women and young girls into sexual slavery.

'They told me I have to marry a Muslim girl, and your girls have to be converted,' he said, adding they bragged that, 'we are going to marry your women, and we are also going to sell them too in the market.'

Discipline at the camp was also extremely brutal and violent.

'They used to beat me in the belly. They would also walk over me telling me it will make me stronger,' he said.

It was during this time that the teenager was also forced to participate in one of ISIS' videos.

'I did not like doing it,' Raghab recalled.

In the nine-minute video, camouflaged boys stand in formation and obey the commands of a long-haired militant teacher.

'Abu Walid [the man in the video] was not always at the camp with us, but sometimes he came to the camp with new boys,' he explained.

He added, 'He [once] told me he had married one Yazidi girl.'

The video also features another of the camp's instructors.

'His name was Abo Omar [and] he trained us with weapons and how to perform beheadings,' he said.

After one week they were then told to watch the final edited version in one of their classes before it was posted online.

The video was filmed at Al Farouq Institute for Cubs in Raqqa, Syria and features boys as young as five performing military exercises under the guidance of ISIS commanders.

Meanwhile, while Raghab was at the camp, his mother, sister and younger brother had been moved to Halab province, where they were staying with an ISIS emir called Abo Aziz.

'He already had a Yazidian wife, so [thankfully] he did not abuse me,' the 51-year-old stated.

However, her youngest son was regularly taken to an ISIS office a few kilometers from Abo Aziz's house.

There the fighters issued 'permissions' for people in ISIS territories to travel around Syria and Iraq.

'I went there regularly. I was learning in this office about administration in the Islamic State,' the youngest son explained.

During this time their mother was back at the emir's house as his domestic slave.

'I was always crying about my [eldest] son, and asking about him,' she said.

Perhaps to pacify her, the ISIS commander finally agreed to bring him to the house.

They stayed there for about three months, before the family were given to another ISIS fighter.

'He [Abo Aziz] gave us to another ISIS fighter, who was Syrian,' the mother said.

After paying around £1,650 to a smuggler, the family managed to escape to the Syrian town of Afrin near the Turkish border, before making it to Iraqi Kurdistan.

'Our remaining relatives here raised the money… but we are happy now to be free from ISIS,' she stated.

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