The Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement has been accused of beheading a 12-year-old boy while taunting and recording the scene in a video posted online on Tuesday circulating on social networks.
The Palestinian 12-year-old named Abdullah Issa was believed to be a child soldier fighting in support of the government. However, the Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement took to Twitter in response to the video condemning the act and stating the beheading was an “individual error” and does not reflect or represent what the Movement advocates.
In the video, one of the members is heard shouting: “He sent us a child today, he no longer has men!” which was understood to refer to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The group added in the clip that they would leave no one in Handarat, a city north of Aleppo, where important battles between pro-government and rebel forces are rife. According to Al Jazeera, the little boy lived in al-Mashhad with his family in an impoverished, refugee area of which rebels had taken siege. There were reports that the 12-year-old Abdullah Issa was sick and according to an article published by BBC, he had an intravenous drip attached to his arm visible in one of the photos posted.
Furthermore, before killing the boy execution-style, the group that held him captive accused him of being a member of the Liwa al-Quds, the Jerusalem Brigade, a Palestinian armed pro-government group. However, on Wednesday, the Jerusalem Brigade posted on its official Facebook page that identified the child whom they stated was clearly not a fighter just by glancing at him.
At a press briefing that took place on Tuesday, one of the previous funders and suppliers of the Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement, the United States, gave a statement saying they are in search for more information and until then could not confirm the “appalling report,” Al Jazeera said. State Department Spokesperson, Mark Toner, added that if the Movement is in fact found to have murdered the boy, the US will discontinue assisting it.
Castello Road closure cuts supplies
On Monday, 18 July, a day before the beheading circulated the internet, government forces reportedly closed off Castello road, which is the only supply route into the rebel-held eastern part of the violence inflicted Syrian city.
Rebel groups had tried to reopen the route to secure the survival of those living in eastern Aleppo and to maintain the Council of Free Aleppo Governorate, the system of government and society based on rebel-held areas where the groups provide essential services no longer given by the State.
“Castello Road is important because it’s the only way to get food into the city, and there are no good work opportunities,” said Ahmed Hamsho in an interview with Al Jazeera local merchant.
Hamsho along with other residents of the area complained about the insufficient food, medicine, and water which has lead to significant price hikes as sellers monopolize on the scarcity.
The assumption is that such scarcity of staple foods to rebel-occupied areas is exactly what the government intended. Aid organizations fail to reach such regions, and therefore residents cannot receive supplies, which makes them along with the military groups protecting them vulnerable. Furthermore, when residents’ need to feed their families becomes intensified, desperation escalates which also reduces unity and resistance among them.
Many people have fled the area but those who still reside there are either committed to the Syrian uprising, have strong ties to rebel groups or are attached to their homes, Al Jazeera reported.
Amnesty International on humanitarian violations in Syria
On Tuesday, 5 July, Amnesty International had released a case study on the happenings within rebel- controlled territories and their quasi-judicial institutions. The research highlights 24 documented cases of abduction between 2012 and 2015, along with brief information on members of the Syrian government and pro-government held captive. The 35-paged pdf document available in Arabic and/or English gives a report on the background of the situation in Aleppo, violations by other actors where they mentioned Russian intervention, a brief description of the groups of people abducted, torture and ill-treatment, summary killings, information on the international humanitarian law and ends with conclusion and recommendations.
The Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O’Gorman, took the opportunity to speak out against the crimes against humanity filling Syrian streets when he responded to the gruesome beheading video. O’Gorman stated: “internationally, states taking part in talks over the Syria conflict must use any influence they have to pressure all armed groups engaged in the conflict to end violations of international humanitarian law including abductions, torture, and other ill-treatment.”
This sparks an interesting question: how have the supplies to rebel groups are given by nations such as the US, France, and Britain positively contributed to the Syrian people? Furthermore, why is it only in September 2015 when Italian aid workers were abducted by the same groups the western countries were supporting, that they then refused to continue to endorse such an abomination? What about the Palestinians and Syrian civilians who have been abducted, tortured and killed all of these years?
There seems to be no rules in matters of war where power and interest always prevail.
Source: Al Jazeera