'Utter cruelty' witnessed in Syria execution

'Utter cruelty' witnessed in Syria execution
Fri Sep 13, 2013 16:48:12

The administration of US president Barack Obama is threatening to bomb Syria, setting conditions, lobbying almost everywhere, conducting TV interviews trying to get support from a widely opposing public opinion, and pushing hard to make the world believe a chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian government and now it should be punished, while extremist militants are taking more lives in the most brutal ways one can imagine, almost every single day.

There are many Syrian trapped in small towns and villages, ruled by al-Qaeda and other terrorist-in-nature groups, who witness cruel crimes which are setting new standards of brutality in people’s minds.

Life seems to have lost its meaning as the killers do not care who they are killing, a terrified girl, a crying boy, a desperate mother or a father who worries what would happen to his family after the attackers remove his head in front of them.

Reported by the TIME, what follows is a harrowing description of extremist militants publicly executing, by decapitation, a young Syrian in the town of Keferghan, near Aleppo, on August 31, 2013.

Because of the danger in reporting inside Syria, it was not possible to confirm the identity or political affiliation of the victim. Nor are the motivation of his killers clear. One eyewitness who lives in the area and was contacted by TIME a week after the beheadings said that the executioners were from ISIS, an Al-Qaeda franchise operating in Syria and Iraq.

This decapitation was the last of four executions he documented that day. 

What follows is an edited account of his experience by the TIME:

The man was brought in to the square. His eyes were blindfolded. I began shooting pictures, one after the other. It was to be the fourth execution that day I would photograph. I was feeling awful; several times I had been on the verge of throwing up. But I kept it under control because as a journalist I knew I had to document this, as I had the three previous beheadings I had photographed that day, in three other locations outside Aleppo.

The crowd began cheering. Everyone was happy. I knew that if I tried to intervene I would be taken away, and that the executions would go ahead. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to change what was happening and I might put myself in danger.

I saw a scene of utter cruelty: a human being treated in a way that no human being should ever be treated. But it seems to me that in two and a half years, the war has degraded people’s humanity. On this day the people at the execution had no control over their feelings, their desires, their anger. It was impossible to stop them.

I don’t know how old the victim was but he was young. He was forced to his knees. The rebels around him read out his crimes from a sheet of paper. They stood around him. The young man was on his knees on the ground, his hands tied. He seemed frozen.

Two rebels whispered something into his ear and the young man replied in an innocent and sad manner, but I couldn’t understand what he said because I don’t speak Arabic.

At the moment of execution the rebels grasped his throat. The young man put up a struggle. Three or four rebels pinned him down. The man tried to protect his throat with his hands, which were still tied together. He tried to resist but they were stronger than he was and they cut his throat. They raised his head into the air. People waved their guns and cheered.

Everyone was happy that the execution had gone ahead.

That scene in Syria, that moment, was like a scene from the Middle Ages, the kind of thing you read about in history books. The war in Syria has reached the point where a person can be mercilessly killed in front of hundreds of people—who enjoy the spectacle.

As a human being I would never have wished to see what I saw. But as a journalist I have a camera and a responsibility. I have a responsibility to share what I saw that day. That’s why I am making this statement and that’s why I took the photographs. I will close this chapter soon and try never to remember it.


string(1540) "[{"id":"1516156","sort":"3090673","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/12/alalam_635145944411916276_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Russia optimistic for peace in Syria"} ,{"id":"1516161","sort":"3090674","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/12/alalam_635145989927340116_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria army resumes mop-up operation in Maalula"} ,{"id":"1516188","sort":"3090675","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/12/alalam_635146064133160858_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Assad: Syria to hand over chemical arms"} ,{"id":"1516220","sort":"3090676","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/12/alalam_635146141327204736_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"French draft gives Syria a 15-day deadline"} ,{"id":"1516252","sort":"3090677","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/12/alalam_635146210798583406_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Saudi militant leader killed in Syria"} ,{"id":"1516297","sort":"3090678","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/13/alalam_635146554085406652_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria joins UN chemical weapons convention"} ,{"id":"1516317","sort":"3090679","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/13/alalam_635146672720824672_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Kurds kill 35 Takfiri militants in Syria clashes"} ,{"id":"1516345","sort":"3090680","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/13/alalam_635146728330935526_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Putin hails Syria entry to chemical weapons convention"} ,{"id":"1516364","sort":"3090681","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/09/13/alalam_635146850294690763_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria catastrophe engineered under Bush, executed verbatim under Obama"} ]"