[JURIST] Kurdish children from Kobani, a city that sits on the Syrian-Turkish border, were tortured and abused [press release] by the Islamic State (IS), Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported Tuesday. IS reportedly abducted 153 Kurdish boys on May 29, 2014 and held them at a school in Manbij, 55 kilometers outside of Kobani. Many of the boys escaped or were released last summer, and the last 25 boys were released on October 29. Four of the boys gave detailed accounts of the abuse to HRW officials in Turkey after they were released in late September. The boys described repeated beatings with a hose or electric cable and said they were forced to watch videos of IS militants beheading captives. They also told HRW that IS guards beat the children that tried to escape, did poorly on their mandatory religious lessons, or misbehaved in the eyes of their captors. The boys that had familial ties to the Kurdish armed group, People's Protection Unit, reportedly suffered most under IS captivity. The four boys were given no explanation of their release, just that their religious training was complete.
IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic [official website] expressed grave concerns [JURIST report] last month about escalating violence against civilians. In September, the newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad criticized [JURIST report] IS for its recent killings and human rights violations of women in IS-controlled areas in Iraq.