New details are emerging about the nature and extent of the Islamic State's executions, and they are grisly. According to a new report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS has executed 3,027 people since it established its caliphate one year ago. That number includes 74 children and 86 women.
The charges that ISIS brings against those condemned to death are usually offenses against Islam. These include blasphemy, sorcery, sodomy, spying, and practicing as a Shia Muslim. The bodies of the executed are often brutally put on public display, with their purported offenses listed for everyone to read.
One expert put forth her view of why these executions are so ubiquitous and brutal:
“Underlying all these executions is the apocalypse ideology of the final battle between the believers and the unbelievers,” said Jasmine Opperman, the director of Southern Africa Operations at the Terrorism, Research & Analysis Consortium. “ISIS is using executions to show its followers -- and would-be followers -- that the group is the only true representative of believers, not only in word, but action, which is why executions are featured so prominently.”
This past week, ISIS has stepped up its executions to set an example for conduct during the month of Ramadan. It dealt out three straight days of executions and public chastisements.
On June 30, 11 workers from al-Miadin endured live crucifixion and were forced to wear signs saying "70 lashes and to be crucified for 1 day for breaking the fast in Ramadan."
The most recent killing spree was publicized via a highly produced video, which showed 15 men being executed in three horrific ways.
ISIS has been active in recruiting children to its cause, sending them to "Jihad School" at young ages and holding commencement ceremonies in terrorist fashion. ISIS not only co-opts and brainwashes children, it even brutalizes them through cage-fighting. The report reads:
“The violent Islamist group appears to demonstrate a particular interest in children, releasing videos of children fighting in cages and undertaking military training,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said. “The report also details moves undertaken by the group to entice children to join, which include setting up offices called "cubs of the caliphate" that recruit children to fight for ISIS.”
The report also confirms that ISIS has killed 143 of its own fighters. Many of them were fighters who attempted to flee back to their home countries, some of which were in Europe. Most prospective jihadis who leave their home countries understand that it's a one-way trip, as they are expected to give their lives to the caliphate.