A young Shiite volunteer militiaman passes under the Quran as a Shiite imam blesses him before going to battle ISIS in Tikrit.
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A quiet middle-class Shiite neighborhood in western Baghdad has been transformed recently into a mini-boot camp, training teenagers for battle against ISIS.The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 says Washington cannot provide certain forms of military support, including foreign military financing and direct commercial sales to governments that recruit and use child soldiers or support paramilitaries or militias that do.The PMF says the training is just a precaution and that it does not deploy minors in combat, and the government says any underage fighters are isolated cases who slipped through on their own.It's yet another way minors are being dragged into Iraq's brutal war as the military, Shiite militias, Sunni tribes and Kurdish fighters battle ISIS militants.The U.S. does not work directly with the Popular Mobilization Forces and has distanced itself from the Iranian-backed militias which are among the fighters under its umbrella. But the PMF receives weapons and funding from the Iraqi government and is trained by the Iraqi military, which receives its training from the U.S.The line between combat training and actually joining combat is weakly enforced by the Popular Mobilization Forces, which has multiple militias operating under its umbrella.
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