The Iranian regime, faced with a crisis in recruiting fighters to defend Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, has embarked on a new propaganda campaign to encourage children to join the war in Syria.
The Iranian regime’s state media have been broadcasting a new promotional clip entitled ‘Martyrs who defend the sacred shrine’ in recent days encourage young children to take part in the war.

The video has been 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).

In parts of this clip, young children are shown singing:

“Let’s rise up to save the sacred shrine.
I have joined [Imam] Hossein’s army division.
… I have a warrant from the [Imam Ali] to defend the sacred shrine.
On my leader [Ali Khamenei’s] orders I am ready to give my life.
The goal is not just to free Iraq and Syria;
My path is through the sacred shrine [in Syria], but my goal is to reach Jerusalem.
… 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.”

The slogans and images in the video are reminiscent of the regime’s recruitment effort during the Iran-Iraq war after it faced a public backlash in recruiting soldiers, which led the mullahs to instead use young Iranian children as human waves to clear the minefields. None of its efforts at the time bore fruit, and eventually the regime’s founder Khomeini was forced to accept a ceasefire, which he described as a “chalice of poison.”

In the Iranian regime’s lexicon, “defending the sacred shrine” is the equivalent of deploying the forces of the IRGC and more recently the regular army to Syria to defend the Assad regime as he massacres the people of Syria. This is while the majority of the Iranian regime’s casualties are near Aleppo which is several hundred kilometres away from the holy Shiite shrines near Damascus.

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 first of all manifests the anti-human nature of the regime which seeks to even mobilize the children of its own loyalists as cannon fodder. This and similar measures by the mullahs’ regime indicate a strategy deadlock for the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Syria which is Tehran’s main hub for exporting terrorism and fundamentalism to the region. They point to widespread dissatisfaction in Iran of the regime’s warmongering in Syria and its internal isolation. After having attempted to deploy its IRGC forces and foreign militias including Afghans, Lebanese and Iraqis, and even its regular army units, the regime has resorted to recruiting children to the war fronts.”

“But this disgraceful and inhumane act will not bring the regime out of a deadlock, just as it failed to do so during the Iran-Iraq war. The difference is that this time the regime has already used up all its strategic resources, and it is in a far more fragile state,” Mr. Gobadi added.

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, on April 17 told the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that the Iranian regime is putting all its effort into saving the Assad regime even while it knows that it is fighting for a lost cause, because it has no other solution. If Assad falls out of power in Syria, it will lead to the overthrow of the regime in Tehran, she added.