(CNN)ISIS has stepped up the use of children in its bloody campaign of terror, the United Nations says — subjecting them horrors that include putting price tags on them to sell as slaves.
A report released this week focused on children in Iraq, as well as the responsibility of that nation’s government for ensuring the safety and security of young civilians in the conflict. But it certainly doesn’t preclude similar things happening in Syria, where ISIS is also entrenched and also has been blamed for various atrocities.
In reference to Iraq, at least, the U.N. report found that the terrorist group is resorting more and more to brutal acts such as enslaving, raping, beheading, crucifying and burying people alive. Some of those affected are children.
“We have had reports of children, especially children that are mentally challenged, who have been used as suicide bombers, most probably without them even understanding what has happened or what they have to expect,” said Renate Winter, an expert with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Some as young as age 8 are getting training to become soldiers, she said.
“Children of minorities have been captured in places where the so-called ISIL has its strength, have been sold in market with tags, price tags on them, have been sold as slaves,” Winter said.
People of the Yazidi faith — which draws from Christianity, Judaism and the ancient monotheistic religion of Zoroastrianism, and which some Muslims consider devil worship — have long faced persecution, though by comparison ISIS’s cruelty to them has been extraordinary. Kurdistan Regional Government adviser Nazand Begikhani, for instance, has said Yazidi “women have been treated like cattle, … subjected to physical and sexual violence, including systematic rape and sex slavery.”
Yazidi children haven’t fared much better at the hands of ISIS. An earlier U.N. report described how militants rounded up all Yazidi males “older than 10 years of age at the local school, took them outside the village by pickup trucks, and shot them.”
ISIS: ‘It is permissible to buy, sell or … gift’ captives
The U.N. report, while alarming, isn’t surprising considering all the accounts of ISIS’s brutality in recent years.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State has made a name for itself — in its quest to form a vast caliphate governed under a strict version of Sharia law — both through its conquests and its savagery.
The savagery was on display again this week with the release of video showing Jordanian pilot Lt. Moath al-Kasasbeh being burned to death, the latest example of ISIS not just executing its captives but broadcasting such violence as propaganda.
While there was no response specifically to the U.N. report, ISIS has in the past attempted to justify atrocities — including the enslaving, raping and selling of captives — as being done in God’s name.
The terror group printed a pamphlet last fall, then distributed…