If you didn’t think ISIS was appalling enough, a new United Nations report shows their true depravity. The extremist group has established an area of control that stretches from eastern Syria into western Iraq. Fighters continue to push deeper into the Anbar province, and fighting has broken out near the Turkish border.
The 40-page report, released this past Tuesday, outlines the atrocities committed by the group between July 6 and September 10. To say it’s sickening would be an understatement. Both the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq and the UN Human Rights Office worked off 500 interviews with witnesses and survivors from the various crimes.
ISIS is known for their brutality, and the UN report outlined those most vulnerable to the terror group. Minorities, children, women and the elderly are systematically attacked by the group.
The UN report outlined a “range of gross human rights abuses, including murder, physical and sexual assault, robbery, wanton destruction of property, destruction of places of religious or cultural significance, forced conversions, denial of access to basic humanitarian services, and forced expulsion.”
“The array of violations and abuses perpetrated by (ISIS) and associated armed groups is staggering, and many of their acts may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said.
Those who were not able to flee the violence with their families quickly see their children recruited into the ranks of the group. Children often see their parents executed in front of them, before being forced into the group. Some are sent to orphanages, while others are sexually assaulted by the group.
Witnesses to the group’s violent rampages have reported seeing kids as young as 13 dressed in ISIS clothing, carrying weapons oftentimes too big for them to hold up. Patrols have been spotted that have kids embedded in the ranks.
The Sinjar incident had women throwing themselves off the mountain with their children in desperation. Survivors of the attack on the Kocho Village on August 15, said males as young as 10 were rounded up. As many as 400 were reported to have been executed in one of the group’s many mass executions.
Treatment of Women
The UN said women are treated especially harshly by ISIS. Women that are professionals, such as lawyers and physicians, are targeted for execution by the terrorist organization.
If the women are of a different religion are asked to convert. Married women that do convert are told that their marriage is no longer recognized. They are then given to other fighters as wives. Unmarried converts are also given to ISIS fighters as wives.
The women that refuse to convert are quickly sold into in sex slave trafficking rings. The Yezidi and Christian minorities are targeted in this way. ISIS fighters in Iraq captured between 400-500 women from these two groups to give to Syrian soldiers as a reward, or to be sold off into slavery.
The forced subjugation as ISIS wives is being used as a recruitment tool for foreign fighters. ISIS recruiters promise the men wives if they join the fight.
ISIS Mass Executions
Social media has cracked down on the spread of the videos, but ISIS continues to commit mass executions and targeted killings at a rapid clip. Mass graves have been found throughout Iraq and Syria as ISIS fighters rampage through the disputed areas.
In Baquba, Iraq, 15 men were found hanging from lamp posts on July 15. Witnesses said it was a campaign of intimidation against the Sunni residents that did not support the cause of ISIS.
In another incident, 13 members of two displaced families were summarily executed at a checkpoint.
If the atrocities weren’t enough, the civilians ruled under ISIS face incredible oppression. Religious freedoms have been denied, along with assembly, association and speech. Imams in the villages seized have been forced to pledge allegiance to the group or face execution. In the Iraq portion of the conflict alone, the UN estimates over 8,000 civilians have been killed, with 1.8 million displaced.
It has become crystal clear that the Iraqi Army is not up to the task of pushing back the militants, and even with US-led airstrikes, gains against the militants have been slow.