WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO
Brutality is an everyday ordeal in Syria as the devastated country has been suffering from a two-year-long civil war that has pit government forces against rebel fighters. Evidence of war crimes continues to surge on social media sites as media access inside the war-torn country is limited.
The Human Rights Watch has claimed that it has received a video which “appears to show” a commander of a rebel Syrian brigade called the Independent Omar al-Farouq brigade mutilating the corpse of a government fighter. The video has since been uploaded on a pro-regime website which has sparked a flood of “shares” and YouTube views.
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According to The Guardian, Human Right Watch has said, “The figure in the video cuts the heart and liver out of the body and uses sectarian language to insult Alawites. At the end of the video [the man] is filmed putting the corpse’s heart into his mouth, as if he is taking a bite out of it.” It has since been reported that the organ in question was a lung, which somewhat resembles the liver.
It is not known whether the Independent Omar al-Farouq brigade operates within the command structure of the Free Syrian Army. But the opposition Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army leadership should take all possible steps to hold those responsible for war crimes accountable and prevent such abuses by anyone under their command … Any party with the power to do so should do all it can to keep weapons from reaching the brigade.
The 27-second clip in which the rebel fighter brandishes the organs of the Syrian soldier was seen by TIME reporters back in April. However, since it was unclear that the video was authentic in content, it was not disseminated. In fact, there were fears that it could have been faked for propaganda purposes. The rebel – now identified as Al- Hamad has confirmed in interviews that the video is real and that he did indeed take a bite of the soldier’s organs. In an interview conducted via Skype to TIME, he explained the reason behind what caused him to violently mutilated the soldier’s body, “We opened his cell phone and found a clip of a woman and her two daughters fully naked and he was humiliating them, sticking a stick here and there.”
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“The desecration and mutilation of a killed person is definitely a war crime,” Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, told the BBC. “This one particularly disturbing because of the sectarian nature of the language used by Abu Sakkar.”
This comes only weeks after civilian videos posted online showed explicit material following a large scale massacre in the Syrian coastal village of al-Bayda near Baniyas.
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