Syrian Children Play War Games with Toy Guns and Rifles: When We Grow Up, We Want to Be Mujahideen
In a Syrian adaptation of cops and robbers, children take to the streets of their neighborhood during Eid Al-Adha with toy guns, "in an effort to imitate the mujahideen in their real battles with the criminal regime." Osama, whose father was killed in battle, says: "This game is preparation and training for when we grow up and become mujahideen ourselves." The children carry out infiltrations, assaults, and raids, capturing "prisoners" and taking "booty." The report was posted online by the Ebaa News Network, which is affiliated with Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), on August 24, 2018.
The following are excerpts:
Narrator: "Infiltration, assault, and raids – this is what these two groups of children are doing during the blessed days of Eid Al-Adha. These battles and clashes are waged in the neighborhoods and public parks, in an effort to imitate the mujahideen in their real battles with the criminal (Syrian) regime."
Child 1: "When we grow up and become mujahideen ourselves, we will fight the regime, take over some regions, and help the mujahideen."
Narrator: "The boy over here is Osama, whose father was martyred in the battles over Al-Sahel. He prepares his weapon, gathers his group, and gives them instructions about how to attack and be steadfast in battle."
Child 2: "Whatever happens, Allah willing, we will win. My role in this game was that of team leader. I like playing this game because my father was martyred in battle, while defending the honor of the Muslims."
Narrator: "This game is preparation and training for when we grow up and become mujahideen ourselves."
Child 3: "Say: 'Allah Akbar!'"
Children: "'Allah Akbar!'"
Narrator: "The battles continue from dawn to dusk, with a multitude of weapons of various kinds – ranging from BB guns to water and electric rifles."
Child 4: "Allah be praised, we played this game, and we took weapons and ammunition as booty. We took prisoners and found out where their headquarters are."
Child 5: "We play this game every day during the holidays. Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose. We carry out attacks, and we take booty. Allah willing, we'll play this game every holiday."
Narrator: "These children have abandoned the games of their peers in order to be like the grown-ups. They all hope to become mujahideen in the future, to wage real battles in real life, and to liberate the land and protect the servants of Allah."