Frame 0004
Sunni Tribe in Iraq Trains Child Sold...
Ramadi
By mushtaq mohammed
02 Mar 2015

March 2, 2015
Anbar, Iraq

Children of the Sunni tribe of Bou Fahed receive weapons and trench-warfare training from community elders in Ramadi, al-Anbar province, Iraq in order to prepare them against potential ISIS assaults. In the video, boys as young as 12 claim to have taken part in pitched battles against ISIS, whereas others appearing much younger hold automatic weapons and join in chants vowing to "die with dignity" and defend their land from ISIS with their "dead bodies". One says he would rather train in combat in order to please his father and bring honor on his family than go to school. Abu Oman, a tribal Sheikh, says that teaching young children to defend their honor and protect their land is part of tribal tradition, and it is a father's duty to teach his son the importance of these virtues.

Transcription:

Trainer (man, Arabic):

(00:07) If you see anybody moving in front of you, shoot him. Our enemies are located from this point onward.

(00:21) You are the men of…

Children: Bou Fahed men!

Trainer: Whose men are you?

Children: The Bou Fahed!

(00:30) Trainer: Would you allow ISIS to come here?

Children: No!

(00:57) Trainer: By God, you will fight in real life, not in some fake battle.

(01:16) Hold it like that, to the front.

(01:24) Put the rifle butt against your shoulder.

(01:45) Trainer: Who is your enemy?

Children: ISIS! (Shouting)

Trainer: Do you want to fight them?

Children: Yes! (Shouting)

Trainer: You are heroes, good job.

Oman, 12 years old, (Child, Arabic):

(02:10) We are the heroes of the Bou Fahed clan. We are standing up to ISIS to defend our land and honor.

This is the field of honor, dignity and pride. We are standing here to defend our honor, women and land.

Many battles began in the Eastern Husseiba area, al-Madeek and al-Jareyya. We support our brothers in the police, the army, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization militia), and other tribal heroes.

We are steadfast against ISIS. By God, they will only step on this land over our dead bodies.

I participated in the battle of Eastern Huseiba. My brothers from the police and the clans were worried about my safety. But I asked to shoot, and they allowed me to shoot.

My friends at school are proud of me. I support my brothers from the Bou Fahed clan.

Interviewer: Are you not afraid of being injured or hurt? Are you not scared of the sound of shooting? What would you do?

Does one die once or twice?

Interviewer: What is that? Repeat it.

Does one die once or twice? We would rather die with our dignity than live in humiliation.

Ali Kamal Sabagh, 13 years old, (Child, Arabic):

(03:45) The Bou Fahed clan was at the barricade, the Eastern Husseiba barricade. There was shooting. I said: “Should I shoot?” They said: “No, do not.” They did not let me shoot.

They asked me to bring them water, to carry ammunition and bring food. I stayed with them.

Interviewer: Are you not afraid of being injured? What do your friends in school tell you? What class are you in?

I am in seventh grade. I am not afraid of being injured or of anything that might happen to me. All I care about is protecting my home, honor, and dignity.

Interviewer: How do you feel about the police and the army? What does your father do for a living?

I love the police and the army and I wish I could participate with them in fighting ISIS, the terrorists. I hope that ISIS leaves al-Anbar.

My friends ask me if I fear to get injured, I say: “No, I am protecting my home.”

Interviewer: What does your father do for a living?

He works in the police force.

Interviewer: Your father is in the police?

Yes.

Chanting 1:

(04:53) These are the people of al-Ramadi, who did not accept shame.

They are both young and gray-haired,

They are the people of dignity, generosity, manliness and goodness,

We want to die with dignity!

Chanting 2:

We will stand and fight you, ISIS!

You have doomed yourselves by attacking the Bou Fahed clan,

The brave have stood against you,

They will cut your tails.

Chanting 3:

O my brothers,

We are leopards and our flag shall remain high,

We taught the entire universe a lesson,

We will die with our dignity, and never surrender or be humiliated.

O my brothers,

We shall fight,

We are the victorious leopards,

O my brothers,

Cover your head for the Bou Fahed have come.

Abu Oman, Tribal Sheikh (Man, Arabic):

(06:09) People should know that these are the traditions of the clans. We raise our children to have good ethics and religious values; to be generous and respect hospitality. This is the most important message we want to deliver. Our children, in spite of their young age, they were brought up to defend their land, honor, religion, homeland, the province, and the clan. As their fathers we have duties, but they also have duties, too. They need to understand the need to defend honor, land and religion.

We want to deliver this message to anyone who does not understand what a clan means. Each clan can represent a country that has its own traditions, customs and constitution. Whoever does not know this should know it.

Interviewer: How old were you when you started to shoot? Did your father also teach you these things?

I was 10 years old, as I remember. I started to shoot during the good times; at weddings, occasions, and funerals. We learnt how to shoot since we were children.

Interviewer: Do you know anyone from your clan who joined ISIS? What were the reasons behind this?

Unfortunately, yes, there are many people from the clans and from al-Anbar who joined ISIS. They were fooled due to unemployment. They were lured by money.

I hold government officials responsible for this. If they had good intentions to embrace all the sons of Iraq and keep them within a unified country, none of this would have happened.

Frame 0004
The Syrian Teenager Who "Chose" War O...
Morek, Hama
By TTM Contributor 9
30 Jan 2015

Morek, Hama, Syria

January 30, 2015

Fourteen-year-old Mohammad Khodr al-Hajji left school more than a year ago to fight against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Mohammad joined the opposition battalion formed by his father. He receives regular military training and has been positioned on the frontline outside the town of Morek near Hama, in an area called al-Sayyad. Opposition fighters took this area from the Syrian government’s forces fourth months ago. In a year or two, Mohammad hopes to actively engage in battles.

Mohammad’s case is not unique. Many children have been drawn into the Syrian conflict as it nears its fourth year. According to a Human Rights Watch report, non-state militias of different affiliations have recruited dozens of teenagers and given them perilous military tasks.

Khodr, Mohammad's father, says that even though his son is young, he might not be safer at home because he could die in an airstrike.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of Mohammad and other fighters resting in a cave

Close-up of Mohammad’s face
Close-ups of Mohammad’s hand

Various of Mohammad and other fighters inside a cave watching battle videos
Various of Mohammad lying down on a mattress inside a cave Wide of Mohammad helping his father wear military vest
Various of Mohammad and other fighters waling in a field
Medium of Mohammad loading his rifle
Various of Mohammad and other fighters inspecting anti-aircraft machinegun
Various of Mohammad and other fighters inspecting military positions
Various of Mohammad walking
Various of Mohammad loading his weapon
Wide of Mohammad holding his rifle inside a trench
Various of Mohammad with other fighters practice shooting SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Mohammad al-Hajji
07:39- 11:31
“I am Mohammad, the son of Khodr al-Hajji. We are positioned on al-Sayyad frontline in Morek. God willing, we shall stay steadfast. We have gone to war for the sake of God. God willing, we shall remain steadfast. I was at school and I was watching TV. I saw destruction and children. I went for the quest of freedom, against Assad’s infidel regime.
I saw my father and brothers fighting against the Assad regime. I decided to practice jihad with them. I have been here for a short while, but my father taught me how to use weapons – how to disassemble and reassemble a rifle and shoot, thanks be to God.
I saw people going out in demonstrations for the sake of God. I saw my father and brothers participating in battles. I said to my father that I wanted to learn how to use weapons. He said: “Do not learn this. You should stay away from this business.” I said: “Let me learn.”
Later on, he taught me how to use rifles. He first taught me to dissemble and reassemble the rifle and he then he let me shoot. I started to go with him to battles.
I was with my friends and I saw that they all participated in jihad, and I wanted to be like them.
At first, I used to like this but I do like anything after the trouble.
Interviewer: Why?
Because of these circumstances. We are scared of warplanes because they bomb schools. We stopped going to school. I stopped going to school a year ago. I am in the eighth grade. Warplanes bombed the school and we stopped going there.
Interviewer: When was that?
About a year or more. Only a child was injured. He was injured at school.
I am positioned on al-Sayyad hill, the Morek frontline. I am learning how to shoot if the enemy comes.
In the village, we saw the bodies of people killed by the army at a checkpoint. Good God, they were all disfigured. I was very scared, but after I saw this I stopped caring about anything.
When I first grabbed the rifle I felt something very great. It was something very great. We have taken arms for the sake of freedom and God almighty.
There is no work. People have stopped working. We want to work but there is nothing to do. I kept participating in the revolution.
Why is he [Bashar al-Assad] fighting against us? Why? It is his fault.

Interview: Why?
He is fighting against us. They know that we are Muslims and they can see what is happening to the people, yet he is fighting against us. This is his fault. He is a Muslim and so are we, yet he is fighting against us. We consider him a disbeliever. He is killing Muslims. He is killing people and destroying homes.”

Various/ Medium of Mohammad. NAT Sound: (Arabic) Mohammad and another fighter argue with a local man about the need not to light a fire in order to keep the area safe from airstrikes.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Mohammad al-Hajji, Child Fighter
12:30 – 14:15
The trigger. Shooting. This is something great. Shooting at the enemy is quite something. I stay on guard. If the army advances, we fight against it.
Both; I listen to my father and I go to battles. I am still young and I am learning. In a year or two, I will start participating in battles, God willing.
Interviewer: Suppose that you were injured in a battle. What would you do? Suppose you were shot in the leg, God forbid. What would you do? Your father is far from you.
What would I do? I would keep resisting until I die.
Interviewer: If you were hit in the leg, you have this walkie-talkie in your pocket and this rifle, and you are lying down on the ground and cannot walk. What would you do?
I would call my father on the walkie-talkie in order to cover me and move me out. If I was hit in a battle, I would call my father on the walkie-talkie. The men will cover me and they will move me out.
If my injury was lethal I would be scared, but what could I do? My father would take me to hospital and the doctor would treat me. God willing, I will remain steadfast.”
Various of Mohammad inside a trench
Various of Mohammad assembling and loading his weapon Various of Mohammad aiming his weapon
Close-ups of Mohammad’s hands holding a rifle
Various of Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s father, outdoor
Close-ups of Khodr al-Hajji’s hands and face
Medium of Khodr al-Hajji talking to fighters of his group inside a cave
NAT Sound (Arabic) (15:29) Over the walkie-Talkie: Mohammad Abu al-Lays, look at the fields, look at the vehicles. Where are you? Mohammad Abu al-Lays do you hear me? Where are you? (16:24) Tell us more, how long have you been here? What are your plans for the future? (16:33) (16:34) Day 57. Everybody is firing at us. We were staying at a house… (16:44) Mohammad was with you? - No, Mohammad was not with us yet, but the older one Ahmad was. He was 17 - 18 years old. He was born in 1996 (16:58). (16:59) How many children do you have? - I have 10, five girls and five boys. The boys are Mohammad, Ahmad, Bachir, Nazeer (17:05)

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s Father, Head of opposition armed group
(17:43)

Khodr Ahmad al-Hajji from Morek, from Idlib province, the village of Maarat Dibsah. When we first started engaged in the revolution, it was peaceful. The regime started to use violence against us and fire at us while we were demonstrating. You would be marching in a demonstration clapping your hands when suddenly the regime’s men start to fire at you, and people start to fall around you. Things took a new turn. We lost many martyrs.
It was then that people realized that we needed to carry arms to protect ourselves from these tyrants. The regime used to give orders to open fire on those people, and many of them became martyrs.
Whoever did not have money borrowed money… we are poor people. We had to borrow money to buy a rifle and bullets. This is how it started.
Every now and then we used to see an army vehicle. At first, we used to have pity on the Syrian army, saying that they were our children and we did not fire at them.
But at a certain point, the Syrian army itself helped Bashar al-Assad remain in his post. This was four years ago.

Till now, some members are defecting from the army but in small numbers.
If entire divisions and brigades defected, we would not have reached this point.
The members that did not defect from the army allowed Bashar al-Assad to remain in power until today. He also received foreign support from Satan’s party [Hezbollah] of Lebanon, from Iran, all the countries are supporting him. This really affected people, but we remained in our revolution. We started firing at the army and take its positions. We shall continue until the last moment (20:00)
(20:03) My son Ahmad, God bless you and your children, has been fighting with me for almost for two years, two-and-a-half years. I gave him guns and he started to fight with me. My younger son Mohammad kept saying, “Father I want to go with you; Father I want to go with you.” I brought him along, too. It was not a very long time ago. I taught him at first how to dissemble and reassemble a rifle, and then I taught him how to shoot. After that, he started to come with me to the front positions. This is as far as Mohammad is concerned. All is done for God’s sake. If God wills, we will stay on this path until the last drop of blood. We will not go back, for the sake martyrs we lost. We will continue if God wills, and the younger might join, too. If [the war] is going to last longer, the younger people will join.
My brothers, my cousins and I are continuing with this, God willing. I do not care anymore about education because we are losing so much important as loosing blood. Education is nothing when compared to blood. Education is necessary and we should learn and teach our children but we got to a point where the regime destroyed schools with explosive barrels. You will find only one safe school in the entire village; the other ones are completely destroyed (21:50)

(21:51) Mohammad is brave, with the will of God. I want him to continue in this revolution given our circumstances, God willing. (21:59) (22:00) For me, if Mohammad wanted to study, he would not have chosen to carry weapons and fight. I do not have any problem if he wished to remain in school. But, when he saw me fighting along with his brother, he insisted on joining me, so I brought him along. I hope I did not choose a wrong path for him. If he becomes a martyr, it would be for God’s sake, he would be lucky; God giveth, God taketh. I am convinced with what I am saying, this is not a compliment (22:35) (22:36) I am proud of him. He behaves like a man. Despite his young age, he acts like a man, thanks be to God. Some people told me that he is too young to join the war, but they were few. Others told me it is good that he started training at a young age, since the war might last for many years; the whole world is against Syria, especially against the Muslim, Sunni Syrian people. The whole world is against us. All nations are fighting like dogs against us.” (23:20)

(23:21) As for his mother, she did not have any problem at all. When she knew this is what he desired, she did not oppose him. - How does she feel when you both leave together for war? - Her heart aches, but thanks be to God she accepts this. We are believers. We believe in God almighty and in fate. What God has written shall happen. Let us suppose Mohammad or his brothers are at home now and warplanes bomb the house with barrels. If his days are over, he will die at home.”

Wide of fighters looking at a helicopter in the sky
Wide of fighters preparing lunch
Various of fighters eating
Medium of Mohammad opening a pack of dates
Various of fighters praying

Frame 0004
Mohammad, a Syrian Teenager Who "Chos...
Morek, Hama
By TTM Contributor 9
30 Jan 2015

Morek, Hama, Syria

January 30, 2015

Fourteen-year-old Mohammad Khodr al-Hajji left school more than a year ago to fight against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Mohammad joined the opposition battalion formed by his father. He receives regular military training and has been positioned on the frontline outside the town of Morek near Hama, in an area called al-Sayyad. Opposition fighters took this area from the Syrian government’s forces fourth months ago. In a year or two, Mohammad hopes to actively engage in battles.

Mohammad’s case is not unique. Many children have been drawn into the Syrian conflict as it nears its fourth year. According to a Human Rights Watch report, non-state militias of different affiliations have recruited dozens of teenagers and given them perilous military tasks.

Khodr, Mohammad's father, says that even though his son is young, he might not be safer at home because he could die in an airstrike.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of fighters resting inside a cave
Close-up of Mohammad al-Hajji’s face
Close-up of Mohammad al-Hajji’s hand and Kalashnikov rifle
Wide of Mohammad al-Hajji walking ,carrying a Kalashnikov rifle

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Mohammad Khodr al-Hajji, Syrian Child Fighter
00:11 – 00:24

“I am Mohammad, the son of Khodr. I was at school and I was watching TV. I saw destruction and children. I went for the quest of freedom, against Assad’s infidel regime.” Wide of Mohammad walking with other fighters.
Wide of Mohammad with other fighters in a trench shooting.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Boy) Mohammad Khodr al-Hajji, Syrian Child Fighter

00:33 – 00:48
“I have been here for a short while, but my father taught me how to use weapons and to shoot, thanks be to God. I was with my friends and I saw that they all participated in Jihad, and I wanted to be like them.
I have not been in school for many years. I was in the eighth grade. I stopped going to school.
There was an air raid. A warplane hit the school and we stopped going there.
When I first grabbed the rifle I felt something very great.
There is no work. People have stopped working. We want to work but there is nothing to do.
I kept participating in the revolution. I will keep resisting until I die.
I am still young and I am learning. In a year or two, I will start participating in battles, God willing.”

Close-up of Mohammad cleaning rifle.
Wide of Mohammad in trench with other fighters.
Various of Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s father , talking on walkie-talkie Medium of Khodr al-Hajji inside cave with other fighters

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s Father, Head of opposition armed group

01:33 – 01:59
"He [Mohammad] saw that his brother and I were involved [in the revolution]. He began to insist to accompany me, so I took him with me. His brother and I trained him to use a rifle. I showed him how to disassemble and reassemble the rifle. Then he wanted to shoot, so I showed how.
We shall carry on, God willing. Someone younger might also participate [in the fighting]. If this continues for longer, God willing, the younger people will participate.”

Wide of Mohammad opening a box of dates with a knife

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Khodr al-Hajji, Mohammad’s Father, Head of opposition armed group

02:08 – 02:28
“I do not care about education because we are losing so much blood. If he is martyred, it will be for God’s sake. He would be lucky. God giveth, God taketh. My son Mohammad or his brothers might be at home and suffer a strike by warplanes, which are dropping explosive barrels. If his days are over, he will die at home.”

Various of Mohammad and other fighters praying behind Khodr al-Hajji.
Various of Mohammad and other fighters walking