The world is beginning to face another kind of terrorism from children carrying suicide bombs.
It should not be too big of a surprise.
Children for years have been used as soldiers in wars in some African countries, despite all the regulations against that practice in international law and the endeavors of civil society to halt it.
On Saturday night, a suicide bombing at a wedding ceremony in eastern Turkey killed more than 50 people.
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan contended that the bomber was 12 to 14 years old and the attack was likely staged by the Islamic State, or ISIS, though those claims were in question as of Monday evening. The Islamic State has never formally claimed responsibility for any attack in Turkey.
One certain horrifying fact is that the victims included 29 children under 18 years old.
Just hours after the attack in Turkey, a child age 12 to 14 was arrested in Iraq. Police thought he was carrying a bomb on behalf of the Islamic State.
It’s possible that ISIS wants to use more children as killing machines because it has run into problems in Syria and Iraq. For instance, coalition forces, including some from the United States, have defeated the terrorist group in the battle for control of some Syrian cities.
Any strategy by ISIS to use children would be part of a long-term plan. Militants constantly have captured male children ages 10 to 15 since early 2014. Most of them are from lands occupied by ISIS.
Sources in Iraq and Syria claim there are several child terrorist recruitment camps in the region. ISIS has tried to turn some children into militants using martyrdom propaganda in these camps.
Even as children become more involved in creating bloodshed in the Middle East, the number of children dying at the hands of terrorists also continues apace.
Last week, the image of a 5-year-old Syrian child named Omran Daqneesh, who was covered in dust and blood, stunned the world. He became a symbol of Syrian suffering. Omran survived but his brother was killed in that attack.
There is an old saying in the region, “Children in the Middle East don’t grow up, they get older.” In the current chaotic time, one might add, “If they are lucky.”
Children are suffering as both the victims and as suicide jihadists in that part of the world right now.
The recent news provides even more reasons for the United States and its allies to continue their mission to stop the spread of ISIS.