Already unsavory ISIS execution videos have just taken a turn for the worse. In its latest filmed execution, a child soldier from Kazakhstan — who had starred in an earlier video about child training camps — executes two Russian-speaking men accused of working for the Russian Federal Security Service.
The boy, who calls himself Abdullah, first appeared in a video released in late November. There, he explains that he’s at an ISIS training camp for kids, learning Arabic and various military skills. (Abdullah also says that he’s from Kazakhstan.) His goal, he tells his interviewer, is to grow up to execute nonbelievers on behalf of the Islamic State.
Despite similar editing, animations, and graphics, this latest execution video, seven and a half minutes long, is a marked departure from videos typically showing westerners. The Russian-language video begins with a narrator explaining that after Syria became “a land of hijrah and jihad,” enemies sent spies. “The following presentation is a portion of the confessions of two agents recruited by Russian intelligence,” the Russian speaker says.
Next come two lengthy interviews with the prisoners. One is identified as Jambulat Mamayev, a Kazakh man who speaks in stilted Russian. He is visibly terrified as he is prompted to confess to being an FSB agent and committing crimes against the caliphate. The second man speaks Russian clearly, identifying himself as Sergey Ashimov, also known by his Arabic name, Abdullah Abu Suleiman. (The subtitles leave out this shred of information.) He, too, is forced to confess to being an FSB agent, and the video goes silent around the names of ISIS leaders he allegedly spied on. Toward the end of his “confession,” the ISIS interrogator asks him what the punishment is for someone who betrays his Muslim brothers.
Like Mamayev, the interviewer appears to be from a former Soviet republic, whose Russian is coarser than that of the man who read the introductory text.
After the confessions, the video cuts to an outdoor area where the young boy from the training camp video stands next to another adult jihadi, who appears to be from the North Caucasus. After an introductory statement by the latter, the boy executes the two prisoners as the camera lingers on his gun in slow motion.
Frighteningly, Abdullah is one of hundreds — maybe thousands — of children being raised under ISIS rule. Many of the youngest may not remember a life before the battle-hardened world they now live in.