Horror footage shows 12-year-old being beheaded for being a ‘spy’
A US-supported Syrian rebel group said it will open an investigation into the beheading of a Syrian boy on spy accusations, calling it an "individual mistake" that does not represent the overall policies of the group.
The Nour el-Din al-Zinki group, a relatively moderate group that fights the Syrian government and the Islamic State group, condemned the beheading which was captured on video and triggered an instant backlash against the group.
It is not clear who the boy was or why he was beheaded on camera.
He was identified by activists on social media as Mahmoud Issa, a 12-year-old Palestinian.
The Syrian government also denounced the "repulsive crime" against an innocent child in a statement to the United Nations, saying the boy was a Palestinian from refugee camp of Handarat near Aleppo.
The incident allegedly occurred in Handarat, near Aleppo, on Tuesday. A young boy is seen on the back of a pickup truck surrounded by armed men who accuse him of being a spy and a member of the Quds Brigade, a pro-government Palestinian militia. He is then beheaded with a knife by one of them.
The Quds Brigade, in a statement posted on its Facebook page, strongly denied that Issa was a fighter, adding that the boy was ill. It said he was killed by a "terrorist" who lost his brother in battles near Handarat apparently as revenge.
Nour el-Din al-Zinki, in its statement, said it will investigate the incident and expedite punishment. It said everyone involved in the violation was arrested and are being investigated. The group, which operates mainly in Aleppo, has received support in the past from the United States.
Amnesty International said the video is the latest "abhorrent signal" that opposition groups are carrying out serious abuses with impunity.
"This horrific video showing the beheading of a boy suggests some members of armed groups have truly plumbed to the depths of depravity."