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10 Jun, 2013 12:05

Syrian rebels execute teenage boy for ‘heresy’ - report (GRAPHIC PHOTO)

Syrian rebels execute teenage boy for ‘heresy’ - report (GRAPHIC PHOTO)

An al-Qaeda-affiliated opposition group has allegedly executed a teenage boy in Syria in front of his family, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. The boy was shot by the group for supposedly blaspheming.

15-year-old Mohammad Qataa was taken hostage by the extremist group and was then summarily executed in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday night. Pro-opposition group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) released a photo of the boy with bullet wounds in both his face and neck.

The SOHR said witnesses claim Qataa got into an argument at a coffee stand where he worked in the Sh’ar neighborhood of Aleppo. He was overheard saying: "Even if the Prophet Mohammad comes down (from heaven), I will not become a believer."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is a London-based monitoring group founded in 2006. The group lists its goals as “observing the Human Rights situation in Syria, documenting and criticizing all HR violations, filing reports and spreading it across a broad HR and Media range” on its official website. The Observatory relies on a broad network of activists, doctors and lawyers in Syria for its reports. The group says it is “not linked to any political body,” though it openly supports the Syrian opposition and has the opposition flag on its logo.

His words caught the attention of members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria who kidnapped Qatta. They then brought him back to the stall late on Sunday night with whiplash marks on his body.

According to the report published by the SOHR, one of the members of the group addressed the crowd and said: “Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this.”

"He then fired two bullets from an automatic rifle in view of the crowd and in front of the boy's mother and father, and got into a car and left," the report said. It added that the SOHR demands the killers be brought to justice. Qatta’s mother allegedly pleaded with the killers, whose accented Arabic suggested they were not from Syria.

Photo of child executed by islamist rebels in Aleppo (Photo from www.facebook.com/syriaohr)

The group expressed concern that the Sharia court of Aleppo had done nothing to stop the execution of the 15-year-old.

"The Observatory cannot ignore these crimes, which only serve the enemies of the revolution and the enemies of humanity," said the group's leader Rami Abdulrahman. The Observatory also released a photo of the boy participating in pro-democracy protests in Aleppo.

There have been a number of reports of opposition brutality in Syria in recent months. A video disseminated over the internet in May, purported to show an opposition member taking a bite out of a soldier’s heart, and drew widespread condemnation from the international community.

Abu Sakkar, the leader of a group called the Independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade, an offshoot of the Free Syrian Army, says in the video "I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog". Sakkar expressed no remorse for the “eye-for-an-eye” attack and pledged to carry out more such acts.

Currently the international community is pushing to bring both the opposition and the Assad government to the bargaining table to end the two-year conflict. There is disagreement as to what should be done with President Bashar Assad. Russia believes the President should have a role in the solution to the conflict, while the Syrian opposition and their allies are calling for his immediate removal.