It is our understanding that the Shiite militias in Syria, which operate under the patronage of the Iranian Quds Force, have recruited children under the age of 16 to fight in their ranks. The recruitment of the children was accompanied by promises that they would serve as guards at the headquarters and as soldiers at checkpoints in the city of Al-Bukamal, located in Deir ez-Zor province in eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq.
This involves the recruitment of dozens of children, undergoing training in a dedicated training camp in the village of Al-Shuhayl, located near the city of Al-Bukamal.
In practice, as soon as their training was completed, the children were stationed in the desert area of the Deir ez-Zor district, which constitutes an important section of the traffic and supply axes that make up the land corridor of the Shiite axis that begins in Iran, passes through Iraq and Syria reaching all the way to Lebanon.
Shiite militia outposts are located along the mainland corridor in general and in the desert area of Deir ez-Zor district in particular. The purpose of these outposts is to secure the movement and supply route along the Shiite axis. Recently, the militias are suffering many attacks along this route, both by ISIS and by airstrikes from an unidentified force. These attacks resulted in the injuries and deaths of dozens of militia activists.
The purpose of bringing these children to the outposts is to provide the militias with a human shield, expecting to prevent these attacks, with an emphasis on the air strikes. The prevailing assessment is that these airstrikes are carried out by Western factors (possibly US and / or Israel), such a move would prevent the attacking factors from striking these positions, given the fact they are manned by children. The human shield tactic continues to constitute a central component in the operational perception of the Shi’ite axis throughout all its components. The power factors in the Shi’ite axis will stop at nothing, utilizing all the resources of the environment including the civilian population, which they exploit as human shields, without any regard to the collateral damage resulted by it.