Al-Qaeda-linked rebels mistakenly behead fellow fighter, rebel group says
November 15, 2013 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
- The victim was an anti-government fighter who'd been wounded
- He apparently made reference to two revered figures in Shiite Islam
- From that, members of an al-Qaeda-affiliated group assumed he was an al-Assad soldier
(CNN) -- Radical anti-government fighters in Syria mistakenly beheaded a wounded fellow rebel soldier after assuming he was a supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, according to an online statement from the radical fighters' group.
A separate online video showed a gruesome display of radical fighters holding what appeared to be the victim's head.
After the beheading earlier this week, the victim was determined to be Mohammed Fares, an anti-government fighter wounded in clashes against the Syrian Army earlier, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
On Thursday, an online statement from a spokesman for the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), whose fighters apparently carried out the beheading of Fares, called for forgiveness for the killers and asked for "restraint and piety" from anti-government supporters.
"We call on God to accept Mohammed Fares into his Kingdom and to forgive his brothers that sought to rid us of the enemies of God and our enemies," Omar Al-Qahatani said in Arabic in the ISIS statement.
Fares apparently shouted the names of two revered figures in Shiite Islam when he arrived wounded in a makeshift hospital, prompting the overwhelmingly Sunni opposition to assume he was a government fighter, Al-Qahatani added in the statement.
In the separate online video, two fighters from ISIS are seen displaying what appears to be the decapitated head of a bearded man to a crowd in Syria's commercial capital of Aleppo.
"He is an Iraqi Shiite volunteer fighter in Bashar al-Assad's army," a young man brandishing a knife in one hand and holding the decapitated head in another says in Arabic to a group of men all dressed in black.
"If they (al-Assad's army) enter they will not distinguish between supporters and opponents. I swear they will rape the men before the woman," another jihadi fighter continues in the amateur video.
The incident comes as deadly clashes and infighting continues between extremist opposition factions and more secular rebel brigades, potentially weakening the armed movement against al-Assad and further threatening the safety of civilians caught in the conflict.
Human rights groups and some member of the Syrian opposition have condemned what they deem barbaric actions by ISIS including the alleged execution of wounded government soldiers, the shooting of a 15-year-old boy for blasphemy, and public flogging of women for behavior deemed to violate Sharia law.
Catholic group posts video of what it says is monk's beheading in Syria
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
May 31, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.