In its efforts to prop up its ally in Damascus, the Iranian regime has deployed its own military advisers, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) units and Shi’a fighters from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan – and now it appears to be recruiting its own children.
A promotional musical video aired on state television this week encourages children to join the fight in Syria – ready to become martyrs in the process – with Jerusalem as the ultimate goal.
The exiled opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which made available translated excerpts of the clip, said the initiative is reminiscent of Iran’s use of children in the 1980-88 war against Iraq.
NCRI says the video was produced by the propaganda arm of the regime’s paramilitary Basij, who members are typically young volunteers. Affiliated to the IRGC, the Basij is notorious for its role in rights abuses, including the violent crackdown following the disputed presidential election in 2009.