In a video released by ISiS fighters in Syria, a child is seen executing a Russian spy.
The video titled “Uncovering an Enemy Within” in English, the video is narrated in Russian and opens with the interrogation of one of the men, who says he is a Kazakh citizen. He said his name was Mamayev Jambulat Yesenjanovich, and he was recruited by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to get close to an unnamed IS fighter. The second man, naming himself as Ashimov Sergey, does not give his nationality but says he worked for the FSB in Russia previously. He says he was tasked with killing an unnamed IS fighter and locating the residence of the Islamic State’s leader. Both men say they were told to collect and transmit information about IS fighters in Syria. After the interrogations, the video cuts to an outdoor scene, where a bearded adult IS fighter in military-style clothes is standing next to a young boy armed with a pistol. The man recites religious verses and says the two men are in the “custody of the lion cubs” of IS’s Islamic “caliphate”. The boy has long hair and is dressed in a black zip-up jacket and military- style trousers. The two men, dressed in matching grey outfits, are kneeling before the man and the child, who steps forward and shoots both of them once in the head and then several times again after they collapse. The end of the video appears to feature footage of the same boy from an earlier IS propaganda video telling an interviewer he wants to grow up to kill “infidels”. That footage appears to come from a video that emerged last year, showing the same boy participating in a training camp for children, taking apart and reassembling a gun. In that video, he gave his name as Abdallah, and said he was from Kazakhstan. The Russian government has not confirmed any agents were killed, and the FSB said it had “no information at all”. However, Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian security services with New York University, said it was plausible that the men were working in some capacity for the FSB. “These guys, by their own admission, were FSB assets rather than officers and the trade craft described is plausible,” Galeotti said. “The FSB can and does operate abroad in support of its domestic security mission and given the concern about connections between IS and the North Caucasus insurgents, then it is highly likely that the FSB is seeking to penetrate the former.” The video appears to be the first time IS has shown a child carrying out an execution, though it has regularly featured children watching grisly killings and training to fight in its footage. IS has held multiple foreign hostages, including Western journalists and aid workers, beheading five of them in gruesome videos published online. The group, which emerged from al- Qaeda’s Iraq affiliate but has since split with the organisation, controls swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. It has declared an Islamic “caliphate” in territory it holds, and has been accused of abuses ranging from slavery to forms of crucifixion.