By Jenny Stanton, Daily Mail
Friday, 29 April 2016
Iran calls for boys to fight as CHILD SOLDIERS in Syria alongside Assad’s troops
- Iran has released a propaganda video which aims to recruit child soldiers
- Clip encourages boys to take part on the Syrian civil war and defend Assad
- The children sing: 'In this just path I am wearing my martyrdom shroud'
- Comes after army chief said the forces it had deployed were volunteers
PUBLISHED:18:11 GMT, 29 April 2016|UPDATED:20:05 GMT, 29 April 2016
Iran has released a propaganda video aimed at recruiting child soldiers to defend Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
A new promotional video clip entitled ‘Martyrs who defend the sacred shrine’ has been broadcast on Iranian state media in recent days, encouraging children to take part in the civil war in Syria.
It comes after Iran's army chief said the forces it had deployed in Syria in the first such operation abroad since the 1979 revolution were volunteers working under Revolutionary Guards supervision, and the regular army was not directly involved.
The video was produced by the official Bassij Music House, the propaganda arm of the regime’s paramilitary Bassij, a branch of the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), according to the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran.
In parts of this clip, young children can be heard singing: 'On my leader orders I am ready to give my life.
'I don’t regret parting from my country. In this just path I am wearing my martyrdom shroud.
'From Mashhad [north-east Iran], I will walk on foot to Damascus. I am like the bird who flocks to the sacred shrine.'
Commenting on the broadcasting of the new promotional clip, Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said: 'This promotional clip manifests the anti-human nature of the regime which seeks to even mobilize the children of its own loyalists as cannon fodder.'
The video was translated by the exiled opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which said the campaign was reminiscent of the use of child soldiers in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
The Islamic Republic announced this month that it had sent commandos from the army's Brigade 65 to Syria as advisers,suggesting it was using its regular army as well as forces fromthe elite Revolutionary Guards to help Assad's forces in the country's civil war.
Iran is Assad's main regional ally and has provided military and economic support for his conflict with rebel groups and Islamic State militants.
'Some volunteers have been sent to Syria, under the supervision of the related organisation, and among them there might be some of the Brigade 65 forces,' Iran's armed forces chief Ataollah Salehi was quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying.
Iran has two armed forces - a regular army serving as a national defence force, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that was created after the revolution to protect the Islamic Republic against both internal and external adversaries.
Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Guards'foreign operations, went to Moscow in July last year to help Russia plan its military intervention in Syria and forge an Iranian-Russian alliance to support Assad.
Soleimani was in Moscow again earlier this month to further cooperation on Syria, security sources said.
Several said Soleimani also wanted to talk about how Russia and Iran could help Damascus take back full control of the city of Aleppo.
Iranian personnel sent to help prop up the Syrian army have at times sustained serious losses and Soleimani has been reported to be spending time in Syria to help coordinate operations.