The UN says the self-proclaimed Islamic State is guilty of war crimes on a massive scale in northern Syria and Iraq. Eyewitnesses said people there were subjected to a "rule of terror," a new report says.
Commanders of the group that calls itself the "Islamic State" are responsible for war crimes on a "massive scale" in northern Syria that include beheading, stoning and shooting civilians and captured fighters, United Nations investigators said on Friday.
The report is based on interviews with more than 300 men, women and children who fled or still live in swathes of territory in Syria seized by IS, including the city of Aleppo.
"In carrying out mass killings of captured fighters and civilians following military assaults, [IS] members have perpetrated egregious violations of binding international humanitarian law and the war crime of murder on a massive scale," said the report.
"The commanders of IS have acted willfully, perpetrating these war crimes ... They are individually criminally responsible," it added, saying the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, wielded "absolute power."
Scenes of horrific violence
IS enforces its radical interpretation of Islamic law through what are known as "morality police," who order lashings and amputations "for offences such as smoking cigarettes or theft," the report said.
As part of the supervision efforts, children are forced to report on their parents, women are executed for unapproved contact with men, and Christians and other minorities are forced to pay extra taxes or convert.
"IS has beheaded, shot and stoned men, women and children in public spaces in towns and villages across northeastern Syria," the investigators wrote, adding that mass executions have been recorded in Aleppo, Raqqa, Idlib, Al-Hasakah and Deir Al-Zor provinces.
"The mutilated bodies of male victims are often placed on display, a warning to the local population of the consequences if they failed to submit to the group's authority."
glb/sb (AFP, Reuters)