Beheading Mistake Proves Supporting Syrian Rebels Is A Bad Idea

When al Qaeda-affiliated rebels in Syria mistakenly behead a wounded rebel fighter, it shows why we should stay away from the mess.

Syrian civil war Mohammad Fares beheading al Qaeda

Three rebel fighters in Aleppo, Syria take a break from fighting government forces. The man in the center resembles Mohammad Fares, who was decapitated by fellow rebel fighters by mistake on Wednesday.  (Image Source: Reuters)

In Aleppo, Syria, a fighter supposedly fighting for Bashar al-Assad's regime was beheaded by rebel fighters working under the al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).  ISIS even paraded the head around a crowd in Aleppo, and posted the video on YouTube, before moderators removed it.  However, ISIS made a slight error in their beheading: They actually killed a fellow rebel from a different Islamist faction.  Now, the al-Qaeda-backed group, in a historic moment, has asked for forgiveness in accidentally beheading the rebel.  The accidental beheading shows who exactly we are dealing with among the rebels: Not only a contingent of terrorists who like to behead enemies, but also a contingent of idiots.  We should not arm these guys.

The incident occurred on November 13, with the video posted the same day.  Apparently, a wounded fighter was in a makeshift hospital when he shouted the names of two leading figures in Shi'a Islam, likely Ali (the first Imam in Shi'ism) and one of the Shi'a imams from earlier times.  ISIS fighters, who are backed by the Sunni al-Qaeda, heard the shouts, and concluded immediately that he was a government fighter, due to Shi'a backing of Assad's regime.  As is typical of the Syrian Civil War, the end result was summary execution by beheading.  They would later hold the head aloft for fellow rebels and the world to see.

Mohammad Fares, in happier times, when his head was still attached to his body.

However, it was later discovered that the bearded head was that of Mohammad Fares, who was a fighter for the hardline faction Harakat Ahrar al-Sham.  ISIS realized a grave mistake was made shortly afterward.  Leader Omar al-Qahtani went onto Twitter to apologize for the mistake, and ask for forgiveness by fellow rebels, a rare moment to occur with anyone related to al-Qaeda.  He then wrote a Twitter rant, referring to a hadith in which Allah forgave those who killed fellow believers in error.



Needless to say, mistakes and accidents happen all the time in war.  There is a reason the term "friendly fire" exists, after all.  But the swift summary execution of a fellow rebel fighter by other rebels indicates not only complete stupidity, but a complete lack of discipline in among the Syrian jihadi rebels, and al-Qaeda's own incompetence in fielding an army of any kind.  That they could be expected to run a country after overthrowing Bashar al-Assad, let alone overthrow and kill him, is to be questioned.  The influential figures in American politics that wish to arm the rebels, rebels that includes America's primary enemy, need to look at this episode of gross ineptitude and take a sobering reassessment of their beliefs.