ARA News, an independent Syrian news agency, reported that militants threw the boy from a roof in the city of Deir ez-Zor on Jan. 1.
Deir ez-Zor, which is located on the Euphrates River in eastern Syria, is less than 90 miles downstream from the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa.
A source told ARA News that militants took the teenager into custody on Dec. 31 in the home of Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi, a prominent Islamic State officer, “on charges of homosexuality.”
“The boy was accused of being engaged in a homosexual relation with the prominent ISIS officer Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi,” Sarai al-Din, a Syrian media advocate, told ARA News.
ARA News cited “pro-ISIS sources” who said a Sharia court in Deir ez-Zor sought al-Jazwari’s execution. It said that top commanders with the Sunni militant group instead stripped him of his position and expelled him to neighboring Iraq.
State Department: Militant group ‘barbaric’
The Islamic State, which is also known as Daesh, has executed dozens of men in Syria and Iraq who had been accused of committing sodomy. Reports indicate that members of the Sunni militant group sometimes force people to attend these executions that often take place in public.
Many LGBT Syrians and Iraqis from Islamic State-controlled areas have fled to Lebanon, Turkey and other countries.
Lebanese advocates with whom the Washington Blade has spoken said they have heard reports that Islamic State militants have burned men alive they suspected were gay. Bertho Makso, a gay Lebanese man who founded Proud Lebanon, a Beirut-based group that provides support and other services to LGBT Syrian refugees, said in a previous interview that members of the Sunni extremist group hanged a transgender Syrian woman by her breasts.
“ISIL has executed other kids and teenagers before, so killing them for being LGBT isn’t something shocking,” Makso told the Blade over the weekend in an email from Beirut.
A source in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan that is less than 60 miles east of Mosul, a city under Islamic State control, echoed Makso.
“There is nothing about this story which I find unbelievable,” the source told the Blade on Sunday. “It all tracks with what I’m hearing in territory controlled by Daesh.”
State Department spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala on Sunday also responded to the teenager’s reported execution.
“If true, this would be just the latest example of the vile nature of this barbaric organization and why we are committed to working with our partners until it is destroyed,” Jhunjhunwala told the Blade.
Canada in September 2014 granted Ahmed “Danny” Ramadan, a gay Syrian man who fled his war-torn homeland two years earlier, and his boyfriend refugee status.
Ramadan on Sunday described the Islamic State as “a terrorist organization” that is “yet again using gay men as a scapegoat to strengthen their rule in the areas they control.”
“They kill gay men as a way to plant fear in the hearts of people, as well as making their fighters feel that they are working towards an ‘Islamic’ state free of ‘sinful acts,’” he told the Blade from his home in Vancouver. “The fact that the child is only 15 only makes the situation sadder. Words cannot describe how horrible it must have been, and how this child was killed after being raped by an ISIS official.”
Ramadan also mocked the Sunni militant group for the way it reportedly punished al-Jazwari.
“While this child is being thrown out of a building, the ISIS leader who was raping him was relocated to Iraq, which tells you a lot about the laughable justice they enforce,” he told the Blade. “They don’t even adhere to their own rules.”
The reported execution in Deir ez-Zor took place less than a week after Iraqi forces drove Islamic State militants from Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province that is less than 80 miles west of Baghdad.
The Sunni militant group claimed responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that left 130 people dead and more than 300 others injured. The Islamic State also took credit for twin suicide bombings in Beirut the day before that killed more than 40 people.
The Obama administration last fall announced plans to allow 10,000 Syrians to resettle in the U.S. in the 2016 fiscal year and another 75,000 next year. Advocates have urged the White House to allocate 500 of these slots to LGBT people who have fled the Islamic State and other militant groups in their war-torn homeland.
Three out members of the U.S. House of Representatives — U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — are among the members of Congress who voted for bill that would suspend the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S.
The measure, known as the SAFE (Security Against Foreign Enemies) Act, passed six days after the Paris terrorist attacks.