Conflict & Justice

Syrian rebel fighters sorry after cutting off head of wrong man


A rebel fighter carries homemade mortar rounds on Sept. 3, 2013 in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.


Mezar Mater

In a gruesome case of mistaken identity, anti-government fighters in Syria cut off the head of a fellow rebel after mistakenly assuming he was a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A video posted online this week showed members of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) holding the severed head of a man they said was an Iraqi Shia fighting against the heavily Sunni opposition. 

But the error was discovered after other rebel fighters saw the video and identified the man as one of their commanders.

He was named as Mohammed Fares, a member of Ahrar al-Sham, a Sunni Islamist rebel group that that often fights alongside ISIS. 

The confusion reportedly occurred when Fares, who was being transported to a makeshift hospital after being injured during a battle near Aleppo, made comments referring to the Imams of Ali and Hussein, the founding fathers of Shiism.

Fares, it seems, mistakenly thought he had been captured by members of a Shia militia.

His comments led rebel fighters to believe he was a government supporter and they beheaded him.

On Thursday, the ISIS issued a statement asking for forgiveness over the error.

"We call on God to accept Mohammed Fares into his Kingdom and to forgive his brothers that sought to rid us of the enemies of God and our enemies," Omar Al-Qahatani, a spokesman for ISIS, said in a statement.