Damascus (AsiaNews) - Summary executions, people sentenced for blasphemy
and the expulsion of Christians and Shias from their homes are but some of the actions
taken by the courts of the "Caliphate of Iraq and the Levant", the
name the al-Nusra Brigade and other Islamist rebels use in relations to the
Syrian territory under their rule.
In different parts of Aleppo, in the towns of al-Bab and Idlib and other
villages under the control of Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda, sharia has
been enforced for the past year. Islamic justice is not an improvised game but the
work of well-organised courts, with sentences passed daily and indiscriminately
against Sunnis, Christians, Alawis and other Shias who do not conform to Wahhabi
In Aleppo's neighbourhood of al-Shaar, the al Nusra Brigade executed a
14-year-old boy for insulting the prophet. Last Wednesday, the Sadeq al-Amin
Brigade stormed the predominantly Shia village of Hatla in Deir
A video posted by Islamists on Youtube,
almost all foreigners with a North African accent, shows the fighters after a
mission. In it, the men are seen showing off the bodies of those they killed,
mocking them, calling them "dogs" loyal to Assad, saying that they would
kill anyone opposed to Islam.
On Thursday, the body of a man was found with shots in the head and neck
by a mosque in al-Bab (Aleppo Governatorate). Residents reported that the man had
been taken into custody several months earlier by the city's Sharia Council on
charges of theft.
Most information about these massacres and about the violence
perpetrated by the regime comes from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR),
an organisation set up by Syrian rebels in exile.
For nearly two years, SOHR has reported only acts of violence by the
regime against the rebels. Mainstream international media like the BBC, al-Jazeera
and al-Arabya, have relied on it as
their sole source of news.
In recent months, several experts and Syrians interviewed by AsiaNews accused Western and Gulf State
media of selective reporting. More
recently, coverage has become more impartial, but SOHR continues to defend Islamic extremists to avoid losing support among rebel forces.
In the case of Hatla, the SOHT reported said that residents had sided with the
regime and housed Syrian soldiers.
In an interview
with AsiaNews on 28 May, Gregory III
Laham, patriarch of Antioch, said that "Syria's future cannot be
built on destruction. There are no
winners with war."
In the past few months, indiscriminate funding of the rebellion and the
continuous flow of foreign fighters has paradoxically bolstered, not weakened the
regime, with Hizbollah using them as a pretext to wage war against its Sunni
Syrians, including anti-regime Muslims, have begun to criticise the presence of foreign fighters in their country and to
view them as terrorists.
This is the case in Al-Qusair, one of the first cities to join the
rebellion against Assad, and for months one of its stronghold, where residents bemoan
the destruction of churches and mosques not aligned with radical Islam. The same
is true in Aleppo where residents have welcomed the regular army in a number of
In November 2012, the Turkish newspaper Hurryiet stressed the deep cleavages within Syrian rebel forces,
warning the West about the risks of armed support, recently endorsed by US
President Barak Obama and the governments of France and Great Britain.
At present, some 30 recognisable militias with some 100,000 fighters operate
in Syria. Of these, only three belong to the Free Syrian Army, the main interlocutor of the international community.
The other 27 are linked to Al-Qaeda or belong to other Islamist or political movements.
Sources told AsiaNews "that
the purpose of these groups is not only the liberation of Syria from Assad, but
also the spread by force of radical Islam throughout the Middle East and the
conquest of Jerusalem."
Many fighters do not even speak Arabic. Others left villages in
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Indonesia without knowing the exact location of
Some villagers near Aleppo have reported that several fighters,
especially the younger ones, were recruited with the false promise of going to
liberate Jerusalem. (SC)