ISIS terrorists were seen tying up blindfolded prisoners, beating them savagely with sticks and forcing them to stumble through the hallways of their headquarters in long lines in never-before-seen images.
ISIS has always have been careful to release professionally produced videos – often with no signs of criminality or violence – in an attempt to recruit people into what they call the Caliphate.
But unbeknownst to them, IS zealots were recording the reality of life in a torture chamber for months – and thus revealing their identities to international prosecutors.
Grainy CCTV footage inside a captured children’s hospital in Aleppo, Syria, continued to roll even after terrorists made it their headquarters in 2013 – an oversight that will be gold dust for investigators hoping to hold them to account.
The shocking video shared with CNN shows ISIS fanatics tying up a prisoner and leaving him hanging there as he struggles to stand with his arms tied behind his back.
Other scenes show hooded prisoners being beaten with a stick as they are forced to squat with their hands tied behind their backs. A fanatic was seen laughing as he pushed a victim’s head down.
Other prisoners, their heads covered in sacks, were seen walking in a long line through the dark hallways of the hospital-turned-ISIS headquarters.
The shocking video shared with CNN shows Islamic State zealots tying up a prisoner and leaving him hanging there as he struggles to get up with his arms tied behind his back.
Other prisoners, their heads covered in sacks, were seen filing in long lines through the dark hallways of the hospital-turned-IS headquarters.
A terrorist was seen laughing as he pushed a victim’s head down.
In their comfort, the Islamic State terrorists removed their masks, not realizing that their every move was being recorded by the hospital’s CCTV.
This surveillance allowed international prosecutors to gather important evidence and corroborate the testimonies of survivors.
“This is exactly the kind of treatment we’ve heard about from survivors,” Chris Engels, director of investigations and operations for the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, told CNN.
“What makes this important,” says Engels, pointing to an unmasked ISIS terrorist walking past a tortured man, “is a person who would normally try to hide their face on the outside.”
“It’s incredible evidence at trial – several individuals have been identified,” Engels said, adding that they were able to identify a French suspect from the CCTV footage.
Hundreds of civilians were held in the makeshift prison in the Qadi Askar neighborhood of Aleppo. When it was liberated by rebel forces in January 2014, the bodies of dozens of prisoners were found strewn across the bloodied ground.
Many prisoners were executed by IS fanatics with their hands tied behind their backs.
But some made it out alive, including French journalist Didier Francois, who said he heard Syrian and Iraqi prisoners being beaten and tortured inside the hospital.
“We could hear the Syrian prisoners in the first places where we were detained,” François said. CNN in 2015. “At Aleppo hospital, for example. »
Other scenes show hooded prisoners being beaten with a stick as they are forced to squat with their hands tied behind their backs.
In their comfort, the Islamic State terrorists removed their masks – not realizing that their every move was being recorded by the hospital’s CCTV.
A blindfolded prisoner is led through the halls of ISIS headquarters
François, war correspondent for Paris-based radio Europe 1, added at the time: “There were also Syrian and Iraqi prisoners there – locals who were detained for some reason – because they smoked or because the girls weren’t wearing the proper veil or whatever. And they were beaten and tortured. And you could hear them behind the doors.
He said he often found prisoners lying in a pool of their own blood when they went to the toilet.
“There were certain rooms in which the torture took place every night. And sometimes we were put in those rooms. And you could see the hanging chains, or the hanging ropes, or the iron bars.
Engels said the grainy footage from inside the hospital is “clear evidence of the abuse that took place at the facility.”
“And it also helps to identify the perpetrators responsible for the abuse,” he said. “We are able to show the world today what the Islamic State looked like behind the scenes.”
Last month, the UN revealed that IS still has between 5,000 and 7,000 members in its former strongholds in Syria and Iraq and that its fighters now pose the most serious terrorist threat in Afghanistan.
The terror group has declared a so-called caliphate over a large swath of Syrian and Iraqi territory it seized in 2014.
It was declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 after a three-year battle that left tens of thousands dead and cities in ruins, but its sleeper cells remain in both countries.
Despite sustained counterterrorism operations, IS continues to have between 5,000 and 7,000 operatives in Iraq and Syria, “most of whom are fighters”, although it has deliberately reduced its attacks “to facilitate recruitment and reorganization,” said UN experts.
In northeast Syria, around 11,000 suspected IS fighters are being held in the facilities of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which has played a leading role in the fight against IS, it said. the committee. Among the fighters are more than 3,500 Iraqis and around 2,000 people of nearly 70 nationalities, he said.
Northeastern Syria is also the site of two closed camps – al-Hol and Roj – where some 55,000 people with suspected ties or family ties to IS are living in “disastrous” conditions, according to experts. and “significant humanitarian difficulties”.
About two-thirds of the population are children, including more than 11,800 Iraqis, nearly 16,000 Syrians and more than 6,700 young people from more than 60 other countries, experts said.
The panel quoted an unnamed country as saying that IS had maintained its “Kaliphate Children” program, recruiting children from the overcrowded al-Hol camp. In addition, more than 850 boys, some as young as 10, are in detention and rehabilitation centers in the northeast, experts said.