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Hundreds of Kurds have been kidnapped by Islamic State militants in the past years as part of the group's violent effort to retake primarily Kurdish territories of Syria.

In northern Syria on May 29, 2014, Al Qaeda-inspired jihadists kidnapped at least 150 youngsters as they returned home after examinations. The youngsters, aged 10 to 15, we're going from Aleppo to their homeland of Kobani when they were kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). On June 28, five boys fled and ISIS freed 15 more in exchange for the release of three ISIS fighters captured by Kurdish troops. The majority of them were freed some months later, but around 20 were retained.

Captives with family connections in the Kurdish militia known as the YPG, which has been fighting Islamic State extremists for control of Kobani since mid-September, were subjected to some of the worst treatment, according to some of the kids. Hundreds of Kurds have been kidnapped by Islamic State militants in the past years as part of the group's violent effort to retake primarily Kurdish territories of northern and eastern Syria.


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One amongst the freed kids,16-year-old Azad, now lives in Turkey. Azad shared his story of being captive under IS for 3 months. He described being beaten with a hose and an electric line on many occasions, as well as being forced to view footage of ISIS beheadings and attacks. "We were scared. They had long beards. They told us 'we will slaughter you, you infidels.' They asked us to pray and to make the ablutions. Some of us did not know-how. They hit them and said, 'Why do you not know the ablutions?'" Azad recalled.


Islamic State Azad claims that he still has nightmares after the incidentsWikimedia commons

Thousands of individuals have been executed by Islamic State militants, who accuse them of being unbelievers. Azad further recounted, saying "They hit us, and gave us religion lessons. They were on medication as their eyes became red after that. They put bombs on themselves and said we will go to heaven. We cried and said we want to go to our parents. They hit us and said 'why are you crying for your parents? If you become Muslims and return to Kobani you must kill your parents because they are infidels''.

ALSO READ: a soldiers tale of poison bomb under Islamic state

Berivan, his mother, claimed she and the other moms begged for the release of their children. Remembering the terrifying memories, she exclaimed what a tough time it was for them. "It was very difficult, three months of tears and crying. We tried to see them, [the Islamic State fighters]. We went without the men. But they told us to leave. They said if you don't go now we will kill your children now. We cried and cried,"

Azad claims that he still has nightmares after the incidents. "Even after we moved to Turkey I am still afraid. I will always remember one of them. He came at two o'clock in the morning. He had a long beard. He told us 'I will kill you all and then he left," he revealed. Azad completed his examinations in Aleppo. He aspires to work as a petroleum engineer and also expressed his desire to pursue his study in Kobani in the future. (VOA/JC)

(This article is a rehash from Voice of America)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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