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Boy beheaded by Syrian rebels 'was not fighter' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Boy beheaded by Syrian rebels 'was not fighter'

Residents of Aleppo walk through dust and rubble after an airstrike [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 July, 2016

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Fighters loyal to Damascus have said that rebels murdered a boy on Tuesday because of his Palestinian origins in a 'despicable' act of revenge.
A Palestinian boy who was beheaded by a Syrian rebel group was not a fighter with the pro-government Liwa al-Quds force, the militia has claimed.

Fighters from the regime militia named the boy as 12-year-old Abdullah Issa and was born to a poor refugee family from a rebel-controlled district of Aleppo.

He was allegedly murdered by members of the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki rebel group in Syria's Handarat district, just a few miles north of Aleppo.

The rebel group - who have received US-backing in the past - said that the killing was a "mistake" committed by some of its members.

The cases of the prisoners suspected of murdering the boy have been passed to a judicial committee.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Tuesday that the Free Syrian Army had commissioned an investigation into the incident to gather more information.

"If we can prove that this was indeed what happened and this group was involved... it would give us pause about any assistance or, frankly, any further involvement with this group," Toner said.

The Nur al-Din al-Zinki group's condemnation of
the beheading circulated on social media [Twitter]

Liwa al-Quds said on Facebook that its own investigation had revealed that the child was undergoing medical treatment before he was abducted by the men.

This fitted with an image of the boy which shows an intravenous drip in his arm.

It also accused the opposition fighters of killing Issa because of he was Palestinian, and a "cheap and despicable [form of] revenge" for their own casualties in battles with the militia. 

A report published earlier this month by Amnesty International slammed the Nour al-Din al-Zinki group for several violations against its opponents in Syria's second city of Aleppo, including abductions and torture.

The rebel group has itself said that such "individual errors.. represent neither our typical practices nor our general policies".

"All individuals who undertook the violation have been detained and turned over to the [judicial] committee for investigations in accordance with the relevant legal standards."

It also said the regime's siege on Aleppo had caused "morale" to be "negatively affected".

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