Al-Qaeda militants execute old oak tree for ‘being worshipped’

Al-Qaeda militants execute old oak tree for ‘being worshipped’
Sat Nov 23, 2013 22:10:52

Al-Qaeda militants have cut off a 150-year old tree in Syria’s Atme near Turkey borders because they said people were worshipping it.

"Thank God almighty, the tree... aged more than 150 years has been removed, after people were worshipping it instead of God," a close source to extremist militants wrote in his Twitter account according to AFP.

He also posted pictures of a man in a black mask using an electric saw to cut down the tree. A black Al-Qaeda-style flag had been planted on top of the tree.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the tree had been cut down, adding that it stood next to an ancient shrine in Atme.

After extremists took over the shrine and prevented people from going to pray there, prayers were held by the tree instead.

The reports came hours after extremists militants of the al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) took over the town of Atme in northwestern Syria's Idlib on Thursday, according to the Observatory and a local militant sources.

ISIS "have taken over Atme... They have set up checkpoints across the town," said Abu Leila, a militant from Idlib.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over two years.


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