MOSCOW, November 4 (RIA Novosti) — The Kurdish children who were abducted near the Syrian city of Kobani in May were gravely tortured by Islamic State (IS) militants, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday.
"Those who didn't conform to the program were beaten. They [IS] 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," a 15-year-old boy who was detained by the extremist group told HRW.
According to four boys interviewed by the organization, Islamic State militants also forced the children to undergo "intense religious instruction" and watch videos of beheadings. If anyone detained by the group tried to escape, all the abducted children were reportedly punished and given less food.
The militants were especially brutal towards those whose families were affiliated with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), one of the boys told HRW. "They [IS] 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 [IS] saw the YPG as kafir [unbelievers]," the boy was quoted as saying.
A convoy carrying school students home to Kobani from the town of Aleppo was stopped by IS militants in late May. While the girls were released, some 153 teenage boys were taken hostage and kept at a school in the town of Manbij some 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Kobani, according to HRW. Some 50 boys reportedly managed to escape and about 15 were exchanged for IS fighters detained by the Kurdish militia.
Some 75 boys were released in late September, the organization said. According to both HRW and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the remaining children were released on October 29.
"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," HRW said.
In addition to the schoolboys abducted in May, the militant group has "seized other children and adult male and female civilians from villages near Kobani and is holding some of them hostage to trade for IS fighters held by the YPG, the HRW said.
The IS has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.
The United States and a number of its allies have been carrying out airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq since August. In September, the coalition started conducting attacks against the IS in Syria as well.