Rebels with the Al-Nusra Front in Syria have posted a video of the harsh punishment they purportedly meted out to two accused thieves recently: cutting off their hands.
In the video, the radical Islamist group’s Shariah Committee in Al-Bukamal, in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, presented the two accused men at a gathering, blindfolded them, and read an edict before proceeding with the amputation carried out by a man using a small knife and others holding down the victim.
Like most videos emerging from Syria, TheBlaze is unable to independently authenticate the disturbing images.
The Nusra Front is one of the jihadist groups fighting to oust President Bashar Assad from power and impose strict Shariah, or Islamic law, as part of a wider caliphate spanning Syria and beyond.
The severing procedure was captured in its entirety in the video. During the amputation of the first man’s hand, shouts of “Allahu Akbar” were audible.
An unidentified man presented each hand to the camera after it was severed.
Following both amputations, both severed hands were displayed on a sheet, no doubt sending a frightful message to others living in the city.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, an Oxford University student and a fellow at the U.S.-based Middle East Forum, who researches and provides commentary on the insurgent groups, came across the June 18th YouTube video and on Wednesday shared it on Twitter (Warning: the video is extremely graphic).
“It is a recent case,” Al-Tamimi said in an emailed response to question from TheBlaze. “Already the Shariah committee in the Al-Bukamal area has been implementing qisas (retaliation: ie, execution for crimes of murder, normally done by a gunshot to the head in public) and arresting people on suspicion of possessing and dealing in alcohol. There are other factions in the Al-Bukamal area, but they all accept the Shariah committee's authority.”
“That Jabhat Al-Nusra [the Nusra Front] has the monopoly is shown by the fact that the Shariah learning institution is named after Al Qaeda figure Abdullah Azzam,” Al-Tamimi added.
This is not the first time extremists have apparently engaged in hand amputations. In February, a supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria reportedly live-tweeted a similar punishment in another part of Syria.