FJA Shortlist 2021

Category: Outstanding Investigative Reporting

Authors: Rukaia Alabadi (Syria), Fatima Al Othman (Lebanon)

The Mahdi Scouts: A Chronicle of Child Recruitment into Iranian Militias

Daraj - May 6, 2021

The original publication is available via the following link:

This investigation reveals children were trained in weapon use in Iranian camps in Syria and Lebanon under the banner of the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts, which serves as a bridge to militias affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Rokayya Al Abadi (Syria) – Fatima Othman (Lebanon)

This report investigates the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts through exclusive interviews with young scouts, their families, teachers, and scout leaders. The youngsters not only gain strength by joining the Mahdi Scouts, but also evade Syria’s two-year mandatory military service.

So, what are the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts? And what role do they play in supplying Iranian-backed militias in Syria with fighters?

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