Seven children, as young as one year old, were among the 15 civilians summarily executed in an attack on two farming families, reportedly carried out by fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Amnesty International claimed in a report published yesterday.
The human rights watchdog obtained details of a “horrific raid” which took place in the village of al-Tleiliye, in northern Syria on May 29.
More than 10,000 children have been killed in Syria.
The victims were reportedly targeted either because they were mistaken for Yezidi Kurds or for their support of the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), a Kurdish armed group.
The YPG and ISIS had been clashing in the nearby villages of Tal Khanzeer and al-Rawiya, sending most Yezidi Kurds — a religious minority within the Kurdish ethnic minority — fleeing for their lives. The victims of the attacks were Arab, but working on land owned by Yezidis, whom ISIS members consider as “infidels.”
'I entered a house and found two women lying dead on the floor. Between them lay a boy, probably aged six, also dead.'
The seven children killed in the attack ranged in age between one and 12. Their names and ages are listed below.
Mohammed Mahmoud Hussein, aged one
Hussein Mahmoud Hussein, aged three
Mohammed al-Hamdo, aged five
Ibrahim Mohammed Ibrahim, aged seven
Asmaa’ Mohammed Hussein, aged 11
Khaled Mohammed Ibrahim, aged 11
Sahar Mohammed Ibrahim, aged 12
Five men and three women were also killed in the attack.
“I entered a house and found two women lying dead on the floor. Between them lay a boy, probably aged six, also dead. I continued on my way and saw a man lying on the ground and next to him a pick-up vehicle turned into a bed. A woman was lying dead in there with three children; they all appeared to be under the age of 10,” an eyewitness who arrived in the village shortly after the massacre told Amnesty International.
“I walked further and found two men lying dead on the ground," the witness added. "I continued walking and saw another man lying dead next to a wall of a house. He had been shot in the head. I walked further on and saw men placing four or five bodies in a car, including a girl who was probably seven or eight years old.”
A local hospital confirmed that it received 15 bodies on the same day — many of them with gun shot wounds to the head.
The attacks appear aimed at terrorizing and forcibly displacing the community living in the area.
Two women who were also injured in the attack were also taken to the hospital, and survived.
“These cold-blooded killings serve as a bitter reminder of how complete impunity for the war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria is fueling brutality and inhumanity,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement. “The attacks appear aimed at terrorizing and forcibly displacing the community living in the area.”
More than 10,000 children have been killed in Syria since the conflict erupted there more than three years ago, according to UN figures.
In the video below, UNICEF’s executive director Anthony Lake discusses the trauma suffered by children across Syria. The agency estimates that at least 1 million children in Syria are living under siege or cannot be reached by aid organizations because of the ongoing violence.
On Friday, reports also emerged on social media, that ISIS fighters had carried out another crucifixion. VICE News could not independently verify the authenticity of the reports, but the rebel group was previously reported to have crucified two people in a public square in the main town of Raqqa.
Follow Alice Speri on Twitter:@alicesperi
Photo via Flickr