The learned analysts quoted in this Newsweek article (not reproduced below) are sure that this is a sign that the Islamic State is on the wane, and can no longer attract adults the way it did before — since only 120 new adult jihadis joined the group between January 1 and March 23. These analysts are likely to be wrong in this assessment, as they do not understand and have not considered the power of the concept of the caliphate.
“ISIS Recruit 400 Children for ‘Cubs of Caliphate,'” by Conor Gaffey, Newsweek, March 24, 2015:
At least 400 children have joined ISIS’s ranks in Syria since the start of this year for use in combat roles, espionage and propaganda, according to monitors.
Offices for “Ashbal al-Khilafah” (“Cubs of the Caliphate”) were opened in several IS-held Syrian cities, according to London-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Minors are indoctrinated through sharia courses and prepared for combat in military training camps. The SOHR also said that children were encouraged to attend public executions and were offered weapons and cash to join the organisation….
A video released earlier this month showed a French child aged around 12 years old executing Arab-Israeli citizen Muhammad Musallam, whom ISIS accused of being a Mossad spy. The group also invited young boys to watch a screening of the execution of Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh, who was locked in a cage before being burnt alive.
Online tactics used by the group to recruit young girls have been compared to those used by paedophiles grooming young children….
The SOHR also reported that at least 120 new adult jihadis joined the terrorist group between January 1 and March 23 in what it said was the lowest period of recruitment since the group declared a caliphate on June 28, 2014….