In a typical ISIS camp in Syria, the daily routine for young boys seems innocent enough: morning jogs and early breakfast followed by lessons on the Quran and the Hadith of the prophet Muhammad. But when these activities are followed by trainings on how to handle the kalashnikov (an automatic rifle) and other weapons, one would know there is something terribly amiss.
ISIS is systematically training young boys in Syria on how to be soldiers who display absolute loyalty to Islam, many times against their will.
A 13-year-old boy from Deir el Zor who was captured by the Al Qaeda revealed upon interrogation how he was forced to kill his cousin during a fight in order to save his life.
"Muslims are killing Muslims. My cousin is on the other side, so it was either I kill my cousin or he kills me," he said, according to The Christian Post.
Mujahid al Shami, who heads the media campaign "Deir el Zor Is Being Slaughtered Silently," said there are at least 600 children in the hands of ISIS, most of them from the region.
"In Deir el Zor alone, there are more than 600 children who have been recruited into the Islamic State, and nearly 40 have been killed," he told The Christian Post.
Another 13-year-old boy recounts how he was recruited by ISIS. While he and his friends were at the mosque, ISIS soldiers told them to enrol in Jihad. "I wanted to go, but my father did not allow me to," the boy said, according to CNN.
So the soldiers went to his father and threatened to cut off his head if he prevented his son from joining the Jihad training.
The boy said that at the camp, aside from teaching them how to handle weapons, they were forced to watch beheadings, crucifixions, lashings and stonings. At one time, he said, they saw a man who was crucified for three days for failing to fast during Ramadan.
The boy's father, worried about what ISIS might be teaching his son, tried to see him but was kept from doing so. After several failed attempts, he was finally able to get his son out of the camp. He took his family and fled to Turkey.
The boy told CNN, "I love my religion because I am a Muslim." However, he got confused at some of the teachings of ISIS, like why he should fight infidels, let alone understand what an infidel is.
"My father has taught me that religion is not about fighting, but it is about love and forgiveness," he said.