Two boys were punished Monday in Syria by the Islamic State group because the youths allegedly failed to follow religious regulations during the holy month of Ramadan, according to a report. The boys, who were reportedly aged under 18 according to the Guardian, were “caught eating” instead of fasting , which is what Muslims observing the month-long Islamic tradition are expected to do daily from prior to dawn until sundown.
The group, also known as ISIS and IS, has a predilection for doling out harsh punishment to those it considers enemies or traitors, and those it believes are defying the laws of Islam. The boys were hanged by their wrists from a beam, the Guardian reported, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Residents of the village of Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor province reported that IS hanged from a crossbar two boys aged under 18 near the HQ of the Hissba," Rami Abdel Rahman, chief of the Observatory, said, Agence France-Presse reported. "The children have been suspended by ropes from a pole since noon, and they were still there in the late evening,” Rahman said.
ISIS has a detailed history in its treatment of children, which has many times been torturous but also can include instances of death, like in Monday’s episode. A teenage Syrian boy recounted his experience after Islamic State fighters caught him trying to plant a bomb. While he managed to escape death, “I thought I was going to die and leave my parents, my siblings, my friends, my relatives all behind,” the boy, Ahmed, said to the BBC.
Mentally challenged children have also been targeted by ISIS as potential suicide bombers, in addition to selling them off as sex slaves or just plain killing them via crucifixion or burying them alive. “The scope of the problem is huge,” U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child member, Renate Winter, said.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article, citing Agence France-Presse, had reported that the boys were killed. AFP later issued a correction, according to the Guardian.