ISIS recently released the last of a group of Kurdish boys whom were kidnapped over six months ago, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
The children, between the ages of 14 to 16, were headed home after finishing their middle school exams. It was approximately a 100-mile trip from Aleppo, where the exams were held, to their homes and families in Kobani, Syria.
Their hometown of Kobani, on the Turkish border, has been the location for a fierce battle between ISIS and local Kurdish fighters, who have been aided by U.S.-led airstrikes, as well as Kurdish fighters from Iraq, known as Peshmerga.
Before the children could reach home to celebrate with their families, they were halted and detained by ISIS militants. ISIS let the girls - a group of approximately 100 - go, but they took the boys to a school in Manbij, an area southwest of Kobani, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
In total, ISIS kidnapped and ultimately tortured around 150 boys on May 29th, 2014. The last of the boys held captive by ISIS were released on October 29.
As far as living conditions for the boys, they were rough, at best. They slept on the floor with thick blankets, were only allowed to bathe once every two weeks, and were fed twice a day.
On top of that, they were forced to watch videos of ISIS beheadings and attacks, pray five times daily, and attend religious lessons that included memorizing passages of the Quran.
If they did not do well with their religious lessons, or did anything that could be construed as misbehavior, ISIS members brutally beat the boys with hoses and electrical cords. Human Rights Watch reported that one child was tied up with his hands behind his back, and then his tied hands tied to one foot, and left calling for his mother.
"Those who didn't conform to the program were beaten. They beat us with a green hose or a thick cable with wire running through it. They also beat the soles of our feet," one boy said of his ISIS captors.
"They sometimes found excuses to beat us for no reason...They made us learn verses of the Koran and beat those who didn't manage to learn them," he added.
The boys were allowed occasional phone calls and even visits with their families - small comfort when being held by ISIS and beaten cruelly on a regular basis.
One boy reported that, among the children detained, those who had relatives in the Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units, also known as YPG, were treated even worse by ISIS members. The members of the YPG are viewed by ISIS as nonbelievers, making them infidels and mortal enemies.
"They (ISIS) told them to give them the addresses of their families, cousins, uncles, saying, 'When we go to Kobani, we will get them and cut them up,'" the boy said.
Some boys did manage to escape their ISIS captors. Others were simply released, while more were swapped in exchange for captive ISIS fighters between the months of June and September. ISIS released 75 boys, including those who were interviewed, and those children made their way to Turkey, managing to do so with only the monetary equivalent of one U.S. dollar and a DVD with religious footage. Their journey homeward, with practically zero provisions, after being held captive and tortured for six months by ISIS terrorists, is a display of unmatched courage and resourcefulness.
For more on the bravery of the Kurdish people who are battling back ISIS, read about the Kurdish women who waded into battle against them and were hailed as heroes.
[Image via CNN]