These are the shocking images of two brothers apparently whipped and tortured by kidnappers in the Middle East.
The youngsters – according to local media in Lebanon – were snatched on their way home from school in Baalbek and trafficked across the border into civil war-torn Syria.
Their father Majd Aroub has reportedly been ordered to pay a USA 250,000 (GBP 209,000) ransom by the criminal gang holding them.
Images released by their abductors show brothers Mohnad and Gahleb bent over with their shirts up to reveal livid red weals across their backs, apparently from being whipped.
A chilling message from the kidnappers threatened: “I have one bullet.”
Their desperate father Majd has appealed to Lebanese security forces to help release his sons, who were reportedly kidnapped 40 days ago.
A Lebanese army force reportedly raided the Al-Sharawneh neighbourhood of Baalbek in a move related to the double kidnapping.
Majd, told local media: “I had blocked the kidnappers’ numbers from my phone, which are foreign numbers, two weeks ago, and yesterday I unblocked it.
“I received a call asking me to pay a ransom of USD 250,000, reducing the required ransom number from USD 350,000 to USD 300,000, then to USD 250,000, accompanied by a threat that ‘I have one bullet. audio and video recordings’.”
Maryam Al-Bassam, the director of news and political programmes for Lebanese TV channel Al-Jadeed TV reports that the children have been transferred to Syria by their kidnappers and that the Bashar al-Assad regime’s militia and Hezbollah are involved.
Many Syrians living in Lebanon as a result of the Syrian Civil War that began in March 2011 are subjected to harassment and violence, including kidnappings, especially in areas controlled by the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, according to local media.