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Sources: Teen in Syria shot dead by radicals

Story highlights

  • A 15-year-old boy in Aleppo is killed after he allegedly made a heretical remark
  • Pictures online show the bloody face of the victim, Mohammad Qatta
  • If the report is true, the opposition says, it's a crime against humanity

A 15-year-old boy seized by Islamic radicals was beaten and executed on a street in Aleppo, Syria, activists and family members said Monday.

Pictures that surfaced on the Internet showed the bloody face of the victim, Mohammad Qatta. The images stirred an outcry from families in the devastated city -- the largest in a country wracked by warfare.l

The boy's mother said she saw the killing, carried out because the boy allegedly took in vain the name of the Prophet Muhammad. She said that sin doesn't justify the act -- which comes as the Syrian conflict, now in its third year, rages on.

The incident reflects the grinding misery faced by war-weary Syrians and the growing radicalization of rebels. The opposition Syrian Coalition condemned the news, so far unconfirmed, that extremist factions punished the boy for a heretical comment Sunday.

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"Unverified reports state that the boy was a street vendor selling coffee in the working-class Shaar neighborhood. The boy had been arguing with someone when he was overheard saying, 'Even if the Prophet Muhammad comes down (from heaven), I will not become a believer,' before he was shot," the coalition said.

Sharia committees in rebel-held areas have from time to time ordered executions, but opposition officials say this killing was not sanctioned by any such group.

    If the report is verified, the coalition said, it would constitute a crime against humanity, and those responsible must be brought to justice.

    On Monday, at least 40 people were killed in Syria, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said. At least 10 of those deaths occurred in Aleppo province.