The most troubling statistic found in a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, published on the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) first anniversary, involves the treatment of children; the group believes ISIS murdered at least 74 children in the past year.
However, reports from the past year put the number above 74. Calculating the total is difficult, but experts suggest the true number is probably between 250 and 500.
In June 2014, ISIS made a name for itself upon capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and home to a large Christian community. People fled, but Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, claims militants beheaded children who did not convert to Islam:
Islamic State turned up and said to the children, you say the words that you will follow Mohammed. The children, all under 15, four of them, said, “No, we love Yesua, we have always loved Yesua, we have always followed Yesua, Yesua has always been with us.” They said, “Say the words.” They said, “No, we can’t.” They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child reported that ISIS sells children into slavery, forces mentally handicapped children to be suicide bombers, uses children as shields, and performs mass executions of the children:
“We have had reports of children, especially children who are mentally challenged, who have been used as suicide bombers, most probably without them even understanding,” Winter told Reuters. “There was a video placed (online) that showed children at a very young age, approximately eight years of age and younger, to be trained already to become child soldiers.”
A large number of children have been killed or badly wounded during air strikes or shelling by Iraqi security forces, while others had died of “dehydration, starvation and heat,” it said.
“We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” said human rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. “Some of the victims, including women and children, were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar.”
ISIS killed 54 Kurdish civilians, including children, in March near the city of Hasakeh in northeast Syria. Sky News reported ISIS murdered 400 women and children when they captured the ancient city of Palmyra in May. Terrorists also crucified two teenage boys because they did not fast during Ramadan:
“Apparently, they were caught eating,” Rahman told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday, noting that the placards hung around their necks claimed the two boys violated the Ramadan fast “with no religious justification.”
“The children have been suspended by ropes from a pole since noon, and they were still there in the late evening,” he added.
Unfortunately, no one knows the exact number. These are only a few examples.