The children are shown at around the 5:28 mark, in which many are shown with AK-47 assault rifles and the TIP in Syria's flag. Other pictures with the children show them with the Qur'an and attending what appears to be Sharia and/or Qur'anic classes. Several other photos detail the children learning how to operate AK-47's, sub-machine guns, and other handguns. Many of the children appear to be Uyghur, which means that those Uyghurs who went to Syria brought their families. However, other children may be native Syrians.
The video, which is more of a slideshow accompanied by a TIP nasheed, also shows several scenes from its forces in Syria. Several photos show TIP fighters in Idlib posing for the camera, while others show its forces at the Ribat points (or the frontlines.) Many other photos were reserved for Abu Ridaa al Turkistani, a native Syrian who was the TIP's military commander before being killed at Jisr al Shughur.
The battle of Jisr al Shughur was also heavily shown in the slideshow with some never-before-seen scenes of the battle. The TIP had a significant role in that offensive alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's official branch in Syria, Junud al Sham, Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad, Ahrar al Sham, among other jihadist groups. The TIP said that it lost 20 fighters in the first few days of the fighting, indicating that the group is much larger than expected in Syria.
The TIP in Syria is known to operate at least two other training camps in Syria. One camp is run for children, which appears to be in a different location in Idlib than the one shown above. The second camp is for adult fighters, albeit in a very rudimentary setting. (See this map made by Bill Roggio and myself for more information on jihadist training camps in Iraq and Syria.)
In 2013, Islam Awazi released a video showing a TIP training camp for children somewhere in northwestern Pakistan. That video showed young children learning how to use AK-47's, handguns, and PKM machine gins. TIP in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region joined the Pakistani Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and many others in publicizing training camps for children.
While many people focus on the Islamic State training children in Iraq and Syria, it should be noted that it is not the only jihadist group that does so in Syria and around the world.
TIP in Syria
The TIP has long operated in Idlib alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. One jihadist account on Twitter has alleged that the group also fights in Latakia province. In May of last year, one of its fighters, identified as Dadullah al Turkistani, detonated himself as part of a coordinated assault with Al Nusrah in the northwestern province. That same operation included a suicide attack by an American Nusrah fighter known as Abu Hurayra al Amriiki.
The group has also highlighted another suicide bomber, Abdulvaris al Turkistani, who also detonated in Idlib alongside the Al Nusrah Front. In addition to Abdulvaris and Dadullah, several other TIP fighters who have been killed in Syria have been promoted by the group’s Twitter feed. Most of the promoted fighters appear to be younger and almost all were killed in Idlib.
The Turkistan Islamic Party also operates in China as well as Central and South Asia and is thought to have scores of fighters and its leadership located in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in Afghanistan. The TIP is largely made up of ethnic Uyghurs and fights with the aim of creating an Islamic state in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Its leaders and fighters have been killed by Coalition forces in Afghanistan and by US drone strikes in Pakistan.
Several of TIP’s senior leaders have also been appointed to top positions in al Qaeda’s network in Pakistan. For example, Abdul Shakoor Turkistani, the former emir of TIP, was also appointed by al Qaeda to lead its forces in Pakistan’s tribal provinces.