Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report that says the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) kidnapped and tortured Kurdish children from Kobane in Syria. Four children, aged 14-16, told their stories to the organization after they were held captive for four months.
The terrorist group kidnapped over 153 boys on May 29, 2014, as they made their way home to Kobane from Aleppo. There were around 250 children in the group, but the militants released the girls only a few hours later and kept the boys at a school in Manbij. From HRW:
According to the four children interviewed by Human Rights Watch, ISIS guards at the Manbij school beat the children who tried to escape, did poorly in compulsory religious lessons, or did anything else perceived by their captors as misbehaving. ISIS gave especially bad treatment to the boys from families that had a relative in the YPG, the children said.
“It was really those whose families were close to the YPG who suffered most,” said one boy. “They [ISIS] told them to give them the addresses of their families, cousins, uncles, saying ‘When we go to Kobani we will get them and cut them up.’ They saw the YPG as kafir [unbelievers].”
The YPG (People’s Protection Units) is the Kurdish army in Syrian Kurdistan. The army has fought against the Islamic State for months as the terrorist group attempts to expand its Caliphate across Syria and Iraq.
Militants beat children with electric cables “on the hands, back, and soles of their feet, especially when they misbehaved.” One boy screamed “Oh Mother!” when he was caught in another room. A witness said this boy “was strung up, suspended with his hands tied behind his back, one foot tied to his hands, and told he should call on God not his mother.” The terrorists split the kids into eight different rooms, allowed them to bathe once every two weeks and fed them twice a day. The boys were forced to pray five times a day and receive religious classes. From HRW:
Those who didn’t conform to the program were beaten. They beat us with a green hose or a thick cable with wire running through it. They also beat the soles of our feet. The tire was used less often. I was once put inside the tire and beaten. They sometimes found excuses to beat us for no reason. The Syrian guards were the worst and beat us the worst. They made us learn verses of the Quran and beat those who didn’t manage to learn them. When some boys tried to escape, the treatment got worse and we were all punished and given less food.
The four boys said they got no explanation for their release beyond that they had finished their religious training. They were given 150 Syrian pounds (US$1), a DVD with religious material, and let go.
Between June and September, around 50 kids escaped or were “exchanged for ISIS fighters” held by the YPG. The terrorists released 75 more boys in late September. The remaining 25 were released on October 29.
“Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising, children have suffered the horrors of detention and torture, first by the Assad government and now by ISIS,” said HRW’s special advisor for children’s rights Fred Abrahams. “This evidence of torture and abuse of children by ISIS underlines why no one should support their criminal enterprise.”