'These are your dogs, Bashar': Rebels behead child fighter

'These are your dogs, Bashar': Rebels behead child fighter
A video has emerged showing fighters from Syrian opposition movement Nour al-Din al-Zinki beheading a young boy on Tuesday, believed to be a fighter with a Palestinian pro-regime militia.
2 min read
19 July, 2016
Children have been caught up in the violence that has plagued Syria [File photo: AFP]
A Palestinian-Syrian boy was beheaded by a rebel group on Tuesday, opposition activists have reported.

The child is estimated to be younger than 13, and was said to be a fighter with the Palestinian pro-regime Liwa al-Quds militia. 

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.

A video emerged showing five fighters surround the child as one held a knife to his throat.

"He [Assad] no longer has men, they sent us children today," a bearded man with a cap said.

"These are your dogs, Bashar," another militant said.

The next clip shows the child sprawled on the back of a pick-up truck as a man towers above him to prepare for the brutal murder.

Nour al-Din al-Zinki have not yet issued a statement about the murder, but an analyst has said the killer has since been imprisoned. Factions of the Fatah Halab rebel movement have lodged complaints about the beheading.

The Nour al-Din al-Zinki militant group was established in 2011 to fight the Assad regime and is concentrated in the Aleppo region.

Though it was once part of a rebel coalition receiving US support, the group lost its vetted status some months ago.

Earlier this month, an Amnesty International report accused the group - among others - of abductions, torture and summary killings in and around Aleppo.

"Many civilians live in constant fear of being abducted if they criticize the conduct of armed groups in power or fail to abide by the strict rules that some have imposed," said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa programme at Amnesty International.

"In Aleppo and Idlib today, armed groups have free rein to commit war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law with impunity. Shockingly, we have also documented armed groups using the same methods of torture that are routinely used by the Syrian government.

The group lost its commander during violent clashes with regime forces near Aleppo in October.