A British citizen fighting in Syria is believed to have committed a war crime by taking part in the execution of a prisoner. A video that has been made public shows a rebel fighter, thought to be from London, firing a weapon repeatedly into a man who has his hands bound. A note that accompanies the video – which was uploaded to the photo and video sharing service Instagram – says the victim is “one of Bashar’s dogs”, a reference to supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It adds that the man admitted to killing four people and raping a woman.
The chilling footage is likely to reinforce the fears of UK security services that British citizens fighting in Syria pose a serious threat if they ever return, due to the likelihood that they will have been radicalised by the war.
The clip was uploaded by an account linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) –the most extremist rebel group in Syria. It is thought the incident took place within the last two weeks near the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, in northern Syria. After a fellow rebel shoots the prisoner in the head, the man believed to be the British citizen fires several shots into the prisoner’s body. The murder or ill treatment of prisoners is considered a violation of the Geneva Convention, which defines war crimes.
Researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), which monitors the activity of British fighters in Syria, identified the gunman as the same person who appeared in previous videos calling on fellow British Muslims to join the fight in Syria. The man goes by the name “Abu Abdullah” and speaks with a thick London accent.
A Government spokesman said: “This demonstrates why we have consistently called for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court. Whether this barbaric act is specifically a war crime is for a court to decide. Horrific atrocities have been committed by both the Assad regime and by extremists. The international community must ensure that all those responsible are held to account.”
November 25, 2013
A sixth British jihadist has reportedly been killed fighting in Syria. The death of the man was first reported on the jihadist Twitter account @Zhoof21 yesterday afternoon. He has been named as Abu Naseebah al-Britani by Shiraz Maher, head of outreach at Kings College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR). Charles Lister, an analyst at Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, added that he is believed to have been killed fighting for the al-Qa’ida linked ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams) in Deir Atiyah, north of Damascus.
MI5 estimates suggest that 200-300 Britons have travelled to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, some of which have joined forces influenced by Islamic extremism. The reports have raised concerns that the men may pose a threat to UK security when they return home after their part in the war is over.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/sixth-british-jihadist-reportedly-killed-in-syria-8962600.html
Peter Neumann, director of the Center for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College, London University, said the Gaza convoy incident could prove to be a “tipping point” similar to the publication of U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, credited by analysts with deepening Arab and Muslim opposition to Western intervention in Iraq. “I’d expect a significant impact from this on radicalisation,” he told Reuters.
In Britain, Muslim activists reported fury at the incident. “My streets are in danger, and I say ‘streets’ meaning not just Bradford but the whole UK. This makes trouble for us peacemakers,” said Owais Rajput, a researcher at Bradford University in West Yorkshire, the home area of three of the four men who killed 52 people in the London attacks of 2005.
Abu Muaz of Call2Islam, a radical British-based Muslim group that seeks uncompromising opposition to Israel, said in the past two days there had been “a lot of anger among the youth.” “They ask what’s the point of just demonstrating? In the mosques, the imams don’t have a solution.”