Horrific footage shows 'Syrian rebels' forcing boy to behead captive with sword
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENTDisturbing video is purportedly the work of the Free Syrian ArmyBoy is egged on by older men chanting Allahu Akbar', or 'God is great'Rebels said to have taken control of a military base close to Damascus
15:31 GMT, 11 December 2012
It is perhaps the most disturbing piece of video footage to emerge out of the Syrian crisis to date.
A young boy is egged on by a group of older men, believed to be rebel fighters, and filmed hacking the head off a man who is lying on the ground.
An older man is then seen picking up the head before placing it on top of the body like a macabre trophy.
Video nasty: A young boy, apparently being egged on by Syrian rebel fighters, uses a sword to cut the head off man in this disturbing clip that has been uploaded onto the internet
A message at the start of the video claims the beheading was the work of the Free Syrian Army
In the background militants can be heard chanting 'Allahu Akbar', or 'God is great'.
The victim appears to be dead before the gruesome act begins as he is lying flat and unmoving with his head resting on a cinderblock.
The clip is one of thousands of graphic videos that have been uploaded onto the internet purporting to show the horrors of the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Disturbing: The beheaded man can be seen lying in the background while chants of Allahu Akbar', or 'God is great' can be heard
Trophy: At the end of the video a man scoops the head up from the ground and places on the dead body
Several videos allegedly to show Syrian rebel fighters carrying out summary executions on captured government soldiers or suspected informants have attracted strong criticism.
Others show the dead bodies of dozens of civilians said to have been killed in Government attacks. It is impossible to verify if the footage is real.
The emergence of this latest clip comes just as Washington is said to have begun a secret operation to arm the Syrian rebel fighters following reports of movements at Syria’s chemical weapons sites.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, the US will send mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft missiles to Syria through Middle Eastern countries.
An estimated 40,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Assad began in March 2011.
Today rebels reportedly took control of a military base after a two-day battle that left at least 35 government troops dead.
On the march: Free Syrian Army fighters take their positions, close to a military base, near Azaz
Assault: A Free Syrian Army fighter takes position close to a military base, near Azaz, which is now believed to have fallen to rebel hands
It was the second major base captured in the country's north by the rebels, who have been racking up victories in the area in recent weeks and making inroads further south toward Damascus, seat of the government they are fighting to overthrow.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the battle for the sprawling Sheik Suleiman military base, near the northern city of Aleppo, ended when the rebels took over the site's main compound and warehouses that housed a military research center.
They had first breached the base perimeter on Sunday afternoon, after weeks of fighting with soldiers loyal to President Bashar Assad.
The Observatory relies on a network of activists inside Syria. It did not give figures on rebel casualties from the battle.
Also Tuesday in Aleppo – the country's
largest city and commercial center – four mortar rounds hit the
predominantly Kurdish neighborhood of Sheik Maksoud, killing 11 and
wounding a dozen. The dead included three children and two women, the
A young Free Syrian Army fighter holds an RPG as he prepares himself for the attack on the military base
A pair of Free Syrian Army fighters aim their AK47s over a field as they prepare for the attack on the military base
The conflict started nearly 21 months ago as an uprising against Assad, whose family has ruled the country for four decades. It quickly morphed into a civil war, with rebels taking up arms to fight back against a bloody crackdown by the government. According to activists, more than 40,000 people have been killed since March 2011.
The Observatory said fighters from the jihadi groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra, Mujahedeen Shura Council and The Muhajireen, took part in the battle for the base.
Jabhat al-Nusra, which counts both Syrians and foreigners in its ranks, is one of the most effective fighting units on the rebel side. But the West is wary that such jihadi groups could hijack the uprising.
On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton designated Jabhat al-Nusra a foreign terrorist organization.
The move freezes any assets its members
may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bars Americans from providing the
group with material support.
The designation is largely symbolic because
the group is not thought to have holdings or support in the United
States, but officials hope the penalties will encourage others to take
similar action and discourage Syrians from joining.
Rubble: A collapsed building is pictured following what activists said were airstrikes by a Syrian Government fighter jets in Daraya, near Damascus
That step was part of a package intended to help the leadership of the newly formed Syrian Opposition Council improve its standing and credibility as it pushes ahead with planning for a post-Assad future.
The Observatory also reported clashes and shelling in several Damascus suburbs, including Aqraba, near the international airport where fighting started early this month.
The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, said five people were killed during clashes between troops and rebels in the Damascus suburb of Rankous.
The Observatory and the LCC said there were casualties in clashes in the northwestern Jisr al-Shughour area near the border with Turkey.