NEW YORK, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Kurdish children abducted from Kobane, Syria, by Islamic State militants were tortured and abused during their captivity, a Human Rights Watch report said Tuesday.
The New York-based advocacy group's report is based on testimony from four Kurds, aged 14 to 16, who were among about 150 taken by IS forces in May, the last of whom were released last week. The four boys, who fled to Turkey, offered accounts of repeated beatings with hoses and electric cables and forced viewings of videos presenting beheadings and IS military attacks.
The group was initially comprised of about 250 Kurds who were taken as they returned to Kobane from Aleppo, Syria, after taking middle school exams. The girls were all released, while the boys were taken to a school at Manbij, 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Kobane. Some escaped; others were traded for IS prisoners or released without explanation.
"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. This evidence of torture and abuse of children by ISIS underlines why no one should support their criminal enterprise," said Fred Abrahams, Human Rights Watch special adviser for children's rights.
IS began its attack on the city of Kobane, on the Syria-Turkey border, in September, killing an estimated 800 people. Airstrikes, and the involvement of Kurdish reinforcements from Iraq have kept the city in Kurdish hands thus far.