NEW DELHI: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has said that at least 400 children in Syria have been recruited trained by the Islamic State since January. “They use children because it is easy to brainwash them. They can build these children into what they want, they stop them from going to school and send them to IS schools instead,” SOHR head Rami Abdulrahman told RT.

The Islamic State’s recruitment of children has been in the headlines ever since videos emerged showing children carrying out executions on behalf of the group. Most recently, earlier this month, the group released a video that purported to show a young boy shooting Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam -- accused by the militant group of being a spy for Mossad -- in the head.

Earlier in January, another video released by the group showed a young boy shooting to death two men -- described as Russian spies -- who confess to attempting to assassinate the group’s leaders and infiltrate its networks.

Further, the militant group has been known to use children in other ways. In November, disturbing images appeared online depicting children holding decapitated heads and AK-47s under the title “cubs of the Islamic State,” according to media reports.

It also follows other disturbing images and videos, including “school of Jihad” graduates lined up before a stage, listening to a speaker, whilst a row of adults believed to be their parents look on.

Previously, the UN Human Rights Council found that Isis “has established training camps to recruit children into armed roles under the guise of education”.

“At the camps, the children recruited received weapons training and religious education,” the report reads. “The existence of such camps seems to indicate that ISIS systematically provides weapons training for children. Subsequently, they were deployed in active combat during military operations, including suicide-bombing missions.”

According to an UNHRC report, this recruitment and military use of children under the age of 15 constitutes a “war crime.”

Other rights organisations have also condemned the IS’ recruitment of children. Amnesty International accused the group of “robbing an untold number of young people of their childhood.”