A couple of recent videos posted by a US-backed Syrian rebel group showing the beheading of a young boy has shocked the internet and the world. The boy, who was accused of being a spy, may have been as young as 10 or 11, according to various reports.
The Daily Mail reported July 19 that a video of a young Palestinian boy being brutally beheaded by members of the US-backed Syrian rebel group, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, hit the internet last week. It did not take long for the child beheading video to gain attention, then outrage, around the world as people began to react to the images of a heinous act committed against someone so young.
The reason for such treatment? According to the Syrian rebel fighters, the Palestinian boy was a spy for a pro-Syrian government faction. The boy was arrested by the Syrian rebels earlier in the week. They claim he was spying for the Palestinian Liwa al-Quds (translated as The Jerusalem Brigade), which is an all-Palestinian group that has sided with President Bashar Assad's Syrian regime.
In the video, which was described in detail by the Daily Mail, the boy, who looks no older than 12, was surrounded in the back of a pickup truck by Nour al-Din al-Zenki fighters. At one point, a Syrian rebel grabbed the boy, who may have been tortured prior to events in the video, by the hair and slapped him. He was then forced to lay face down in the bed of the truck with his hands tied behind him. His assailant is then handed a small knife, which is subsequently used to cut the child's throat. The horrifying video ends with the child being beheaded and the severed head being held aloft, the rebel yelling "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") several times, then placing the head on the dead boy's back.
As grotesque as the video might be, Syrian rebels have some reason to fear spies as young as the Palestinian boy in their midst. It is well known that ISIS recruits children in the pre-teen years, as the Inquisitr reported in May, so it is not beyond imagining that spies as young as 10 or 11 might be used by Assad's government forces. Yet, the heinousness of the act of killing one so young borders on the unconscionable.
According to the Clarion Project, a non-profit organization founded to spread awareness of Islamic extremism, the boy's name was Abdullah Issa. He was from Handarat, the Palestinian refugee camp, according to some, while others claim he was a Syrian boy from Qom. His age remains unknown, but activists for the Syrian rebel group claim (in a translation from Seventy-News.com) he was not a pre-teen but was actually 19 years old.
But now everybody seems to be attempting to distance themselves from the beheading video and those associated with it. Nour al-Din al-Zenki condemned the beheading of the child and said that the boy's assailants had acted independently of the Syrian rebel group. They have been arrested, according to a statement from the rebels, and are being brought before a disciplinary tribunal for the act.
"The movement of Nour al-Din al-Zanki condemns the inhuman violation, since they believe in the principles and the targets of the revolution and the principle of human rights and the international agreements and the sharia," the statement read. "This violation doesn't reflect us and a one-time mistake does not reflect the general policy of the movement."
A spokesman for Liwa al-Quds distanced the group from the murdered child, according to the Clarion Project, saying, "We don't recruit children, and all of our fighters wear military uniforms not civilian clothes. We are trying to locate the family of the child and find out his story and the place where he was kidnapped from."
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights manager, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Agence France-Presse, "The child is no more than 13-years old. He was arrested today in the area of Handarat, but the slaughtering happened in el-Mashab neighborhood."
Rahman said of the child beheading video, "This is one of the most terrible execution acts that I have seen since the revolution began in Syria."
Liwa al-Quds is currently aligned with pro-government forces in an effort to retake the Handarat refugee camp from Islamic militants who currently control the area. Nour al-Din al-Zenki not only stands against the Assad regime and Liwa al-Quds, but it also fights against ISIS. The United States is one of the many western backers of the Syrian rebel group.
The child beheading video is not the first example of someone or some faction other than ISIS and Al Qaeda beheading individuals in the Middle East. Last year, Huffington Post reported that a Syrian Christian fighter beheaded an ISIS jihadist in Syria in a revenge killing for individuals executed in northeastern Syria by the extremist regime.
[Image via Twitter]