News out of northern Iraq brings a report that ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has executed a 2-year-old girl and her family by burning them alive. Although ISIS atrocities no longer hold much of a shock value (due to desensitization after seeing and hearing about so many), there seems to be something especially tragic about the death of a young person or a child.
Iraqi News reported this week that a source in the Kirkuk area revealed that ISIS had executed an entire family. Not by any "humane" means, such as a firing squad or lethal injection; they were burned alive. According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the family consisted of a mother, father, and a 2-year-old girl.
The family had been captured in the mountains outside of the village of Rashad, which ISIS controls. The trio were attempting to leave, escaping to the nearby village of al-Alam on the other side of the mountains. However, ISIS has stationed militants along the mountain trails. "ISIS has deployed members to arrest families that run away from ISIS sites southwest of Kirkuk," the source explained.
No other details of the family's plight were disclosed. However, if the execution was conducted in the manner in which ISIS regularly does so using immolation, it was most likely performed in a public square with the family burned alive while enclosed in an iron or steel cage.
In fact, that is exactly how ISIS extremists executed 19 Yazidi (a Kurd-centric religious minority in northern Iraq) girls in June. As the Inquisitr reported, the young women had refused to allow themselves to become sex slaves for ISIS fighters.
Unfortunately, the atrocities do not seem to be relegated only to members of the Islamic State. The news of the small family being burned alive comes just days after a video surfaced of Syrian rebels beheading a young boy who looked to be no older than 12 or 13, although conflicting reports placed him as young as 10 and as old as 19 (as some claimed he was older than he looked). According to an earlier report by the Inquisitr, the young boy, the rebels said prior to the beheading, was supposedly captured spying for a pro-Syrian government faction. The beheading video was condemned worldwide both for the graphic killing of the young boy and for the fact that the Syrian rebel group involved (who stated the killing was an unauthorized independent act) was partially backed by the United States.
Such wanton brutality, experts are saying, arises because ISIS is becoming increasingly desperate as the U.S.-backed coalition, led by Iraqi defense forces, continue to chip away at the extremists' territory. Some would argue that ISIS' brand of brutality is no different now than when they first took over northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq in 2014. In the past six months, ISIS' territory has shrunk by about 12 percent, according to CNN.
Overall, as noted by Vox, the U.S. government estimates that ISIS has lost some 45 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and about 20 percent of what it held in Syria at the height of its territorial gains. This is why, many military experts think, that ISIS has made a dramatic push for exercises and terrorist acts outside their Middle Eastern region, the results of which have been seen in the last few months in Paris and Brussels, the several attacks committed during Ramadan, and the lone wolf efforts of radicalized jihadis in San Bernardino and Orlando in the U.S.
According to Clint Watts, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the answer to why the Islamic State seems to be reaching out internationally is obvious. ISIS, he told Vox, is in the process of losing territory and money, so it feels the necessity to lash out, attempting to find some way to survive its losses.
In the meantime, brutal and heinous acts -- like the girl and her family being burned alive -- committed by ISIS to maintain their extremist code of law and order remain standard in occupied territory.
[Image via Shutterstock]