Thirteen teenage boys were brutally slaughtered by Islamic State militants because they watched a soccer match, according to an activist group that exposes ISIS atrocities.
Last week, the boys were watching an Asian Cup match between Iraq and Jordan on TV when they were caught by the militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which has been controlled by Islamic State militants since June.
Claiming they had violated Sharia, or Islamic law, the militants executed the teens in public by a firing squad that used machine guns after announcing their "crime" over loudspeakers.
"The bodies remained lying in the open and their parents were unable to withdraw them for fear of murder by the terrorist organization," activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently wrote on their website, the New York Daily News reports.
Less than a week earlier, ISIS released images on their propaganda websites depicting two militants throwing two individuals to their deaths from a tower because they were "convicted" of being homosexual, according to a report from the International Business Times.
Once a central hubub bustling with opportunity, Mosul has turned into a gloomy city where "executions and stonings are carried out on a regular basis" and residents are deprived of basic rights and services, reports the Guardian.
"All I can say is that life under ISIS is hell, not heaven as they claim," a citizen named Tariq, who used to study at a technical institute before ISIS took over, told the AP. "We can't study and we don't know what the future holds for us."
A shopkeeper near Nabi Yunus mosque, which was destroyed by ISIS, added that the city's citizens do not see a way out of their situation. "If you want to leave Mosul you need three people to guarantee that you will come back after five days. If you don't return, you put their lives at risk," he said.
The shopkeeper said many militants killed or injured fighting in Sinjar had been brought back to Mosul. "I have been forced to give blood three times," he added.
"They have withheld all freedoms from us," said a 37-year-old woman who asked to be referred to as Umm Omar. "When we go out, if our clothes are not appropriate we are taken to Omar Abdul Aziz mosque to repent."
Meanwhile, while many of Mosul's residents are forced to battle heavy winter storms, shortages of food, heating and medical equipment, ISIS militants remain unscathed.
While much of ISIS' money comes from oil smuggling and extortion, Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari estimates Islamic State has looted $456 million from banks in Mosul, Tikrit and Baiji since its June land grab.
"[ISIS] is a well-funded group, able to purchase cold-weather equipment," a U.S. military official said, according to the New York Post.
Sadly, ISIS' grip on Mosul will likely not break anytime soon.
"They will fight to the last drop of blood defending Mosul, and for them this battle could define their existence. Losing Mosul means a final defeat for Islamic State in Iraq," said a retired army general living in Mosul.