Beirut/Moscow: A video distributed on Friday appeared to show the execution on the orders of an Islamic court of a Syrian rebel leader and his aide in the northern city of Aleppo on charges of criminal activity.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the court had accused the pair shown in the video, which AFP has been unable to independently verify, of theft, murder and extortion.
The Britain-based Observatory said the execution took place on May 31.
The clip purports to show Mahmoud Hussain Al Abed, chief of the rebel Mohammad’s Army Brigade and his aide kneeling and blindfolded in the open air.
Al Abed, with his long, grey beard, white prayer cap and combat fatigues listens as a rebel reads the accusations against him.
“You are accused of having... emptied the stores of medicines under the pretence of buying weapons, stolen cars on the basis that their owners are shabiha (pro-regime militiamen), given the order to kill a Jihadist, and incited the members (of the brigade) to steal,” the voice says.
“Those who fight God and his prophet... should be killed, their hands and feet cut off,” the rebel, whose face never appears on camera, says, listing several other charges against the men.
Gunmen then open fire on the two men, and the camera shows their bodies after the shooting has stopped.
Several Islamist groups fighting the regime of President Bashar Al Assad have set up their own courts in areas they control and imposed punishments based on sharia (Islamic law).
Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign minister has said that reports about possible chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime should not be used as a pretext for a foreign invasion, saying a more thorough probe is needed.
Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that investigators must also look into claims of chemical weapons use by Syrian rebels.
France and Britain this week pointed at evidence that the nerve gas sarin was used by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, signalling that Syria has crossed the “red line” set by President Barack Obama.
Lavrov warned against “speculations and provocation” surrounding the alleged chemical weapons use, saying the claims could be used by “certain forces, who may say that the red line has been crossed and that a foreign intervention is necessary”.