HRW: ISIL forced child hostages to watch beheading videos
The members of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria forced children as young as 14 to watch videos of beheadings and beat them with cables during six months of captivity, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
The terrorists abducted a group of children on May 29 as they returned to the Syrian town of Kobani after taking school exams in the city of Aleppo. It freed the final 25 hostages on Oct. 29, according to Reuters.
ISIL has captured swathes of Iraq and Syria. Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish town on the Syrian border with Turkey, has been besieged by ISIL terrorists for more than a month despite US-led airstrikes meant to displace them.
The abuse of more than 150 children, some held as long as six months, amounted to war crimes, Human Rights Watch said, citing testimony from interviews with four boys among the group.
The children described being forced to watch videos of ISIL in combat and beheading captives, the New York-based group said.
“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,” it quoted one boy as saying.
“They sometimes found excuses to beat us for no reason.”
The boys said they were given no reason for their release. The last children to be let go were now seeking shelter in Turkey, the rights group said.
Those from families with members fighting with the Kurdish forces, called YPG, which has been defending Kobani, were singled out for abuse, the children said.
Their captors, who came from Syria, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, “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 infidels,” one 15-year-old boy told Human Rights Watch.
Other Kurdish children and adults are still in captivity, the rights group said. ISIL is also thought to hold less than 10 Western hostages, including foreign journalists.
The United States and its allies have pounded ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria since August, stepping up the bombardment after the terrorists moved in on Kobani in October.