Human rights groups have expressed grave concerns over the use of juvenile fighters under the legal age to take part in the files of Shiite militants for the fight against ISIS in al-Anbar Province. Shiite militants strongly deny any such matters.
One of the reasons behind the recent stop in advances made by Shiite militants and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in al-Anbar’s Fallujah front is the heavy casualties they suffered in the first days of their campaign. According to news reports around 3,200 Shiite militants were killed and injured in the beginning of the Fallujah war, and this led to a complete halt of the operations.
These young soldiers are learning the methods and tactics of war in a Shiite militant base north of Baghdad. In the summer season the adequate timing of the day for such training in most Iraqi camps is at nights. There are small children also seen amongst those recruited, answering the call made by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to enter the war frontlines against ISIS. These young recruits are not only receiving battle training here, but they are also learning the ethics to deepen their faith and belief in war.
ISIS is also using training and religion to strengthen the faith in war and its fighters in all its ranks and files. Both sides actually believe they have the right to resort to such methods.
However, Shiite militants strongly reject this fact, claiming the training is aimed at proving the youths’ loyalty to their country and a part of legitimate measures supported by the people.
Recently the US Embassy in Baghdad issued a statement expressing deep concerns about armed Shiite militants using juveniles to confront ISIS.
Associated Press also wired an in-depth report on summer training bases to provide training juveniles to take part in the war against ISIS that has taken over a large portion of the country’s lands due to the Iraqi army’s retreats. This news agency described this as another method of dispatching children to a vicious war which the militants have entered to retake areas captured by ISIS last year.