A pre-teen boy in Syria had his arm chopped off by the Islamic State group as a punishment for handling "stolen" goods, according to a new report published Friday. The 11-year-old is among the latest reported victims of the group commonly known as ISIS and its brutal form of disciplinary punishment.
The boy who does not have a family was caught trying to sell a stolen car battery in exchange for food to feed his family, according to a woman who told Sky News she witnessed the public amputation.
''They used a sword… they put a block of wood underneath his hand, put his hand on it and said this stole a car battery," she said of ISIS' so-called religious police force enforcing Sharia Law. "They said this hand has stolen and he had to be punished and they cut his hand off. We know him, he was our neighbor and he was an orphan."
Reports of ISIS doling out fatal punishments to children have abounded over the last few years, but it's perhaps the way the executions happened that is most troubling. Nine children in Iraq were dismembered with chainsaws after being tied to an iron pole in a public square, according to a report early last month. In that instance, the children were punished for their membership in a group that stands in opposition to ISIS.
More than 70 children in Syria were put to death during the summer of 2015 for declared offenses such as "blasphemy and spying, but others include sorcery, sodomy, practicing as a Shia Muslim," according to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
However, ISIS has also enlisted — or in some cases, enslaved — children as fighters, especially in Iraq, forcing them to train as soldiers.
"The recruitment of children as fighters for the Mosul operation should be a warning sign for the Iraqi government," Human Rights Watch senior children’s rights research Bill Van Esveld said in a report released in late August. "The government and its foreign allies need to take action now, or children are going to be fighting on both sides in Mosul."
The militant group reportedly especially preys on mentally challenged children, who are recruited as suicide bombers.