The list of atrocities attributed to the Islamic State continues to grow, with new reports that ISIS jihadis executed a developmentally disabled man and have attacked other civilians with white phosphorus.
The new accusations come by way of Russia Today, which interviewed Bazran Halil, a Kurdish journalist who, with his wife, has been documenting the atrocities of the Islamic State in the Syrian city of Kobani.
ISIS militants have reportedly been wreaking havoc and terrorizing the citizens of Kobani, according to the newest reports. Speaking with Russia Today, Halil said ISIS’ actions in the region go beyond the pale.
“There was a man with Down’s Syndrome,” Halil recounted. “He could not understand the situation to flee or to run away from the frontline. When ISIS arrived, they beheaded him and take his photo and shared them on social media and said, ‘We killed an atheist, a Kaffir.'”
The seemingly arbitrary executions are in keeping with previous allegations of brutality by ISIS militants in the region. Last week, reports emerged that Islamic State jihadis had crucified a 17-year-old for simply videotaping ISIS’ headquarters in one region. His body, according to a sign hung about his neck, was to be left hanging for three days.
Still, the reports of Halil and his wife, Raushan, go beyond almost anything else that has made it to wider media channels. RT’s report notes that the two rights activists and journalists have pictures and video of what they witnessed in Kobani, but that the images are too disturbing to show.
“The jihadists kidnapped all the boys, confined them to a mosque, and made them study Sharia law,” Raushan said. “Those who did not learn the Q’ran quickly enough were shocked with electric cables. For smoking, they chop your fingers off. Drinking is punished by jail. And if a woman is seen in the company of a man who is not her relative, she is stoned to death.”
Equally disturbing are reports that Islamic State militants are attacking civilians using chemical weapons. Bazran showed RT reporters images he says are from a Kobani morgue. The images reportedly show bodies that had been burned with white phosphorus, a substance banned for use against civilians since 1980.
White phosphorus causes horrific burns on those unfortunate enough to encounter it. The substance continues to burn until it exhausts itself, and it has been known to burn down to a victim’s bones.
Kobani is the same border town where the United States and its allies have been stepping up airstrikes against ISIS, with 11 strikes occurring on Saturday, according to NBC News.
U.S. led coalition warplanes struck IS positions in Kobani this morning | Syrian Observatory For… http://t.co/WBgzVEjEEa
— المرصد السوري (@syriahr) October 19, 2014
The actual efficacy of the airstrikes is difficult to determine and a cause of much debate between opposing sides on the issue. Some contend that the United States and its allies cannot rely on airstrikes alone, that boots must be put on the ground to stomp out ISIS. Others hold that airstrikes can enable more desirable elements in the region to come to the fore and take back their territories. In Kobani, at least, the airstrikes appear to have been somewhat successful. While the town is not yet clear, reports have emerged that ISIS fighters have been retreating from the area.
It may be that they will leave behind a thoroughly terrorized populace, one that will have horror stories for the rest of the world about what the true face of the Islamic State.
“Nobody does [things like] this,” Bazran said of ISIS’ actions in Kobani. “Not even animals.”