A father of five from Syria, who has since managed to reach Lebanon to safety, has revealed that Islamic State radicals beheaded people before his very eyes for alleged crimes such as listening to music and smoking, and even blew up graves.
"I still see the images in my head everyday, but I'm safer here and I'm trying to be strong for my children," the man, identified as Jamil from the Al-Hasakah governate in northern Syria, said in a Press Association report.
The 50-year-old refugee, who fled to safety with his wife and children, recounted how two men were beheaded in the streets in his home village, and the gruesome sights of IS fighters walking around with people's heads.
"Even if Daesh were just walking down the road they would find someone to slaughter," he said, using an alternate name for IS.
"No-one could intervene."
While Jamil said it was difficult for him to share many details about the beheadings, he said that the radicals used knives, and carried out the killings in broad daylight. People were executed for things like listening to music, for smoking, or the way they dressed, the father said.
"The graveyard, they even blew the graves up. The dead even had a share of this. And the mosque, the house of god, they destroyed it," Jamil, who is a Sunni Muslim, added.
He said that life under IS was akin to "slavery," with the people in the captured towns forced to give the militants everything. The father pleaded for people not to assume that all Muslims are the same, however.
"Don't go away with the idea that all Sunni are ISIS or Daesh," Jamil said.
"We have been hounded by Daesh. If you are Sunni and you don't apply the law of Daesh you will be slaughtered. The Sunni have been hounded as much as any other religion in Syria," he continued.
"We used to live next door to each other — Christian, Sunni, Alawite. We lived. When Daesh came, if you were a Christian sometimes killing them was good for them."
Yazidis, Christians, Muslims, and people of all walks of life have been killed in IS' ongoing war in Iraq and Syria, with persecution watchdog groups warnings that the radicals are carrying out a genocide.
The terror group is currently fighting to maintain control of Mosul, its last remaining stronghold in Iraq, which has brought about the deaths of a number of civilians, including children.
The evangelical humanitarian aid group Samaritan's Purse is operating a field hospital close to the frontlines of the battle between IS and the Iraqi-led coalition, with one doctor saying, "My first day at the emergency field hospital just east of Mosul, Iraq, was very much like my last day. Mortar strikes on civilians, children bloody and broken, black bags to hold the dead."
The staff member added, "The slow, solemn walk, cradling a 10-year-old in my arms, counting the steps to the morgue. Laying someone's son down on cold gravel, reading his name one last time on the death certificate taped to the body bag."