Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 02 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Peter Julian Eymard
home iconNews
line break icon

Report: Islamic State Group Abused Captive Kurdish Children


Aleteia - published on 11/04/14 - updated on 06/07/17

Rights group accuses militants of torture in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants tortured and abused Kurdish children captured earlier this year near the northern Syrian town of Kobani, beating them with hoses and electric cables, an international rights group said Tuesday.

Human Rights Watch based its conclusions on interviews with several children who were among more than 150 Kurdish boys from Kobani abducted in late May as they were returning home after taking school exams in the city of Aleppo. It said around 50 of the Kurds escaped early in their captivity, while the rest were released in batches — the last coming on Oct. 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 Human Rights Watch’s Fred Abrahams. "This evidence of torture and abuse of children by ISIS underlines why no one should support their criminal enterprise."

Four of the children who were released told the New York-based rights group that they were held by the extremists in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. They described frequent abuse at the hands of the militants, who used a hose and electric cable to administer beatings.

The boys said that some of the worst abuse was reserved for captives who had family members in the Kurdish militia known as the YPG, which has been locked in heavy fighting with Islamic State militants for control of Kobani since mid-September.

The children said the Islamic State group did not say why they were being released, other than that they had completed their religious training, the Human Rights Watch report said.

Islamic State militants have taken hundreds of Kurds captive over the past year as part of the group’s brutal campaign to take over predominantly Kurdish areas of northern and eastern Syria.

On Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the extremists had released dozens of Kurds taken captive in February. It was not immediately clear why the Islamic State group would release the captives now, nor whether a deal had been made with the Kurds for a prisoner exchange.

The fight over Kobani, meanwhile, has raged on, with the Islamic State group pressing its assault despite fierce resistance from the town’s Kurdish defenders and heavy U.S.-led airstrikes against the extremists. On Tuesday, clashes focused on the eastern and western sides of the town, the Observatory and an Iraqi Kurdish fighter said.

Iraqi Kurdish forces known as peshmerga have deployed to Kobani to help bolster their Syrian brethren defending the town. So far, the peshmerga are only playing a support role, using their heavy weapons and mortars to provide cover to YPG militiamen, said the Iraqi fighter, who only gave his first name, Rebwar, because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

While much of the world’s attention has focused in on the town along the Syria-Turkey border since the Islamic State offensive there began some six weeks ago, France’s foreign minister urged the international coalition against the Islamic State to save the embattled city of Aleppo after attending to Kobani.

Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city, has been carved into opposition- and government-held areas since mid-2012. In recent months, the rebel-controlled zone has come under increasing threat as it has been squeezed by President Bashar Assad’s forces as well as advancing Islamic State militants.

"Abandoning Aleppo would mean condemning 300,000 men, women and children to a terrible fate: either a murderous siege under the regime’s bombs or the terrorist barbarity of Daesh," Laurent Fabius wrote in a column published Tuesday in the Washington Post, France’s Le Figaro daily as well as the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper. Daesh is the Arabic name for the Islamic State group.

  • 1
  • 2
Islamist MilitantsSyria
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.