Damascus, SANA – Not content with endangering the physical safety of children, terrorist organizations are putting children who fall in their grasp through psychological torture that violates the very basics of human rights principles, with these organizations training children to bear arms and fight, forcing them to witness beheadings and mutilations, and brainwashing them to force their poisonous extremist views upon them.
Mohammad, a child from the town of Ein al-Arab in Aleppo’s northern countryside, is a survivor of the terrors brought forth by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organizations which had abducted him along with other children from the town in 29/05/2014. Now, he relates the tale of how he escaped the horrors of ISIS.
Mohammad told SANA that after he and his fellow nine-graders finished their exams, they headed to their hometown at noon on the aforementioned date in a bus convoy, and on the way the convoy’s supervisors decided to stop at midnight so that the children can sleep and then continue in the morning.
“At around 1:30 in the morning, a group of terrorists attacked us. They were in SUVs equipped with machineguns. They separated boys and girls, sending the girls to Aleppo in the same buses we were using and taking the 148 boys to al-Fateh Mosque in the town of Manbej,” he said.
“On the next day, we were taken to a school in the same town where we were tortured in various ways by terrorists calling themselves Abu Shahid al-Shami and Abu Anas who were under the command of a man with a Saudi accent called Abu Hashem al-Jazrawi.
“Our hands were bound and we were suspended with ropes from the roof, and they whipped us. They made us watch videos of members of the terrorist groups attacking areas, beheading people, torturing people, and executing captives,” Mohammad said, adding that he and the other boys saw crucified and beheaded people in the town’s square.
He also said that the terrorist gave the children aliases similar to their own and gave them intensive “sharia courses” to brainwash the boys and force their beliefs upon them.
“We saw a lot of Kurds who were kidnapped by the terrorist organizations. They were students, teachers, and children of known social figures and the area who were kidnapped to pressure their parents and to exchange them with terrorists captured by the public protection forces, including some of their emirs and women working with them,” he said.
Mohammad went on to say that after a week of their capture, they were interrogated by the terrorists, and based on that 30 children were charged with being members of the Kurdish public protection forces, and they were sent to a prison. These 30 boys were returned just before the month of Ramadan began and were isolated in rooms, noting that these boys were tortured more than the others.
He said that after a month of captivity, 15 of the children were released because they couldn’t bear the captivity due to their young age, as these boys were no older than 13, while the ones who were between 14 and 16 were kept in captivity.
“Before Eid al-Fitr holiday, 13 kids escaped by jumping over the school’s wall, and at 5 in the morning three of them were captured in Jarablos and returned to the school. They kept a close eye on them and tortured them twice as much as the other kids. After that, there were repeated escape attempts, and a total of 18 kids managed to escape,” Mohammad said.
He said that several negotiation attempts between the public protection forces and the terrorists to release the children in exchange for captured terrorists failed because the terrorists didn’t abide by the deals, adding that ISIS terrorists in that area still have 102 children in captivity, and that he learned that these kids were sent to Iraq to be trained for carrying out suicide operations.
Mohammad concluded his tale, electing to leave some details unmentioned in fear for his life and for the lives of his family. It remains to be seen if his tale and the tales of dozens of other children who went through similar ordeals will ever reach the ears of the slumbering international community and rouse it from its hibernation.