Syrian rebels: 'We Will Slaughter All of Alawites &

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Wednesday, 15 May 2013


terorestKhalid al-Hamad, left, in an undated photo that originally appeared on the website of the Syrian rebel group, the Independent Omar al-Farouk Brigade, which he commands

News sites around the world have shown Khalid al-Hamad sink his teeth into what appears to be the

lung of a dead Syrian government soldier. His fellow rebels have called for him to be arrested or killed for the act. Human-rights groups have condemned him. But al-Hamad has no regrets.

In an interview conducted via Skype in the early hours of May 14, al-Hamad explained to TIME what caused him to cut out the soldier’s organs: “We opened his cell phone, and I found a clip of a woman and her two daughters fully naked and he was humiliating them, and sticking a stick here and there.”

The video, a 27-second clip in which al-Hamad brandishes organs that appear to be the lungs and heart of the Syrian soldier who lies dead at al-Hamad’s feet, was first seen by two TIME reporters in April. A few weeks later, TIME obtained a copy. Though we had been told by witnesses to the filming that the video was legitimate, we set about authenticating its content, aware of the potential that it could have been faked for propaganda purposes. Al-Hamad has now confirmed that the video is real, and that he did indeed take a bite of the soldier’s lung. (At the time of filming, al-Hamad believed he was biting into the liver. A surgeon who has seen the video confirms that the organ in question was a lung, which somewhat resembles the liver). On May 12, a copy of the video appeared on a proregime website, sparking a flood of Facebook Shares and YouTube views.

Al-Hamad, who is Wahhabi (extremist Sunni) and harbors a sectarian hatred for Alawite and Shiite Muslims, said he has another gruesome video of his killing a government soldier from the Alawite faith. “Hopefully we will slaughter all of them [Alawites]. I have another video clip that I will send to them. In the clip, I am sawing another shabiha [progovernment militiaman] with a saw. The saw we use to cut trees. I sawed him into small pieces and large ones.” Al-Hamad also explained that even though both sides of the conflict in Syria are using video clips of their own brutal actions to intimidate the other, he believes his clip would have particular impact on the regime’s troops. “They film as well, but after what I did hopefully they will never step into the area where Abu Sakkar is,” he said, using his nom de guerre and referring to the part of Syria he currently controls.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), which validated the video, released a report on May 13 identifying al-Hamad as a well-known commander responsible for the recent cross-border shelling of a Shi‘ite Lebanese village that killed two. The organization called on the U.N. Security Council to refer the Syria situation to the International Criminal Court to ensure accountability for all war crimes and crimes against humanity. “It is not enough for Syria’s opposition to condemn such behavior or blame it on violence by the government,” said Nadim Houry, HRW’s deputy director for the Middle East. “The opposition forces need to act firmly to stop such abuses.”

Al-Hamad, who has been fighting on the front lines near the strategic town of al-Qusayr for the past week, said the video captures the first time he had ever attempted to eat an enemy’s liver. He indicated that the triumph of the regime over the oppositions had driven him to extremes.

The Supreme Military Council, which according to the leadership oversees about 90% of the fighting groups in Syria, has issued a poster — circulated on Facebook — calling for al-Hamad’s arrest, saying it wants him “dead or alive.” In response, supporters have posted stylized portraits of al-Hamad cradling a rifle. “We Love You,” reads the inscription.

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