A report from a human rights watchdog in Syria said on Friday that jihadists linked to al-Qaeda admitted to beheading one of the Syrian rebels after they believed the man was a Shia from Iraq fighting with the regime’s forces.
This week a video was posted to the Internet showing two Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant members holding the head of a bearded man in front of a crowd in the northern Syria city of Aleppo.
The video said the man had been an Iraqi Shia who was fighting among the Syrian armed forces led by President Bashar al-Assad.
However, only minutes after the video had been posted on the Web, the man was identified by rebels as Mohammed Marroush, a rebel fighter with Ahrar al-Sham, said Rami Abdel Rahman the head of the Syria Observatory for Human Rights.
The group Ahrar al-Sham, which is Islamist, is an ally to ISIL. Later ISIL admitted the rebel was killed in error and said one of the men in ISIL, a Tunisia, was arrested for decapitating the rebel. The arrested man was referred back to their Islamic court, said a spokesman.
Another man, who was also a fighter from another country, was not detained. Marroush was wounded during fighting at a military base near Aleppo.
The base had been the regime’s and located near the second largest city Aleppo, which was once the commercial hub of Syria.
During the battle at the base, the jihadist and rebel groups worked together against soldiers from the Syria regime that were backed by the Shia Hezbollah from Lebanon and Iraqi Shia from the group Abu Fadl al-Abbas.
During the fighting, Marroush was transported to a hospital on the outskirts of Aleppo to receive treatment. While in a drug induced state, it is alleged he was heard saying the names of Hussein and Ali, two Shia imams.
In a statement from the watchdog group, they said that Marroush had heard that from the different Shia fighters prior to him being wounded.
However, the two men took it upon themselves to deduce that he was in fact a Shia fighter and beheaded him, said the human rights watchdog. The group called the beheading a war crime.