UPDATE: The New York Times on Friday acknowledged that the video it published was a year old:
An article on Thursday about the brutal and ruthless tactics adopted by some rebel groups in Syria misstated the date of a video that showed a band of rebels executing seven captured Syrian soldiers. The video, which was smuggled out of Syria by a former rebel, was made in the spring of 2012, not April 2013.
Original post below:
As the Obama administration pushes American intervention in Syria in the wake of the reported use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, many are concerned about the prospect of aiding the violent Islamists that make up a significant percentage of the rebel forces.
For months, Blaze readers have seen accounts of the horrific violence perpetrated by the rebels, from the apparent execution of Syrian truck drivers for the “crime” of not being Sunni Muslims, to purported video of the rebels executing children who supported Bashar al-Assad and a Syrian rebel cutting out the heart of his enemy and eating it.
On Thursday, the New York Times published yet another horrific illustration of how ruthless some of the rebels can be, noting that while Assad’s forces have certainly committed atrocities, the rebels certainly aren’t eschewing violence, and their crimes pose a “dilemma” for the west. The article includes video of the rebels executing seven badly beaten Syrian soldiers, the leader intoning: “We swear to the Lord of the Throne, that this is our oath: We will take revenge.”
The clip, the Times writes, “joins a growing body of evidence of an increasingly criminal environment populated by gangs of highwaymen, kidnappers and killers.”
And while Secretary of State John Kerry has said roughly 15 percent to 20 percent of the rebels are “bad guys,” the Times writes that “across much of Syria, where rebels with Western support live and fight, areas outside of government influence have evolved into a complex guerrilla and criminal landscape.”
As time has passed, some that may have been described as “protesters” or “activists” at the onset of the conflict have been increasingly drawn into the web of violence and extremism. The Times points to Abdul Samad Issa, the leader of the group that executed the Syrian soldiers, as an example of a man who went from a trader and livestock herder to a revolutionary commander who is now “running a training camp in the highlands near Turkey.”
In the video, which can be seen at the New York Times website, the seven prisoners have their faces pressed to the dirt, each with an armed rebel behind him. After Issa concludes his “bitter revolutionary verse,” he shoots the prisoner kneeled before him and the rest of the gunmen follow suit with the other prisoners.
The Times concludes grimly:
[The soldiers'] cellphones, the former aide [who revealed the execution] said, had videos of soldiers raping Syrian civilians and looting.
Mr. Issa declared them all criminals, he said, and a revolutionary trial was held. They were found guilty.
Mr. Issa, the former aide said, then arranged for their execution to be videotaped in April so he could show his work against Mr. Assad and his military to donors, and seek more financing.
The video ends abruptly after his fighters dump the soldiers’ broken bodies into a well.
One of the participants, a young man wearing a purple fleece jacket, looks into the camera and smiles.
Read the entire piece at The New York Times.
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