A British man fighting against the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria has revealed that the terror group is using suicide bombers as young as 13 to detonate at Kurdish targets, adding that they have no knowledge or opinion of the war they are expected to die for.
Former British banker Macer Gifford , 29, who gave up a job in the City before heading to the Middle East to fight alongside the Kurdish YPG group, said: "Raqqa is now there for the taking and they know it, their desperation is palpable," he told the Mirror.
"They have started strapping bombs to children and force them to run at enemy lines. We had children running at us, blowing themselves up daily. The youngest one we came across was just 13. These aren't Isis recruits, they're terrified conscripts forced into a war they know nothing about."
The jihadist group is reportedly losing ground in their self-declared caliphate between Syria and Iraq, with Kurdish forces fighting against the extremists in the north. Kurds have been slaughtered in their thousands by Isis (Daesh), with mass graves discovered in towns once-controlled by the terrorists.
The Briton said that coalition forces, including US and UK Special Forces, are preparing for a huge assault on the terrorists' de-facto capital of Raqqa. However, he said an attack on the Isis stronghold of Mosul would seem more likely, as the area around the city is facing mounting pressure from the north, east, and south.
Gifford, currently in Shaddadi, northern Syria, said 150 American special forces have recently arrived in addition to British SAS and US Navy SEALs already there.
He said: "ISIS are on their last legs. They are desperate now and the noose is tightening. It's believed the next operation is to take Raqqa itself.
"It's going to be massive and be coordinated by the Americans. Nothing has been confirmed yet but everything is pointing that way and makes sense. You have to think of it like a pincer movement, like the horns of bull, the pincers are in place and now it is time for the main offensive."
Over the last 18 months, it is believed that IS has lost 25,000 fighters with more than 1,000 taken out by RAF strikes on the caliphate. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian recently said that Raqqa "must fall in 2016".