Al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels in Aleppo decapitated a man they believed to be the enemy and posted a gruesome video on YouTube on Wednesday. But when Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watched it, they recognized the bearded head dangled before the crowd as belonging to a fellow rebel, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Today, members of Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) rebel group, who are Sunni, asked for “understanding and forgiveness” for killing the wrong man.
“The mistake … is indicative of the chaos within rebel ranks, particularly since the rise of ISIS over the summer,” according to the Telegraph.
The dead man is reportedly Mohammed Fares, a commander of the Sunni rebel group Ahrar al-Sham, who had been wounded in battle. Fares allegedly was heard mumbling phrases from Shiite prayers, which led to his grisly death. Most troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad are Shiite.
The two main branches of Islam help explain the divide in the region.
The Sunnis: Most rebels are Sunni. So are the royals of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Egypt is 90% Sunni.
The Shiites: Assad is Alawite, a Shiite sect. About 65% of Iraqis are Shiites, and Iran is overwhelmingly Shiite.