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article imageHeart-eating Syrian rebel defends action as revenge

By Katerina Nikolas     May 15, 2013 in World
The Syrian rebel commander branded a "cannibal" after video footage emerged of him biting into a dead regime soldier's heart, has defended his actions as revenge for regime atrocities.
Syrian rebel Khalid al-Hamad, also known as Abu Sakkar, is the commander of the Independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade. A gruesome video of him slicing the heart and liver from a dead regime soldier was obtained by Human Rights Watch earlier this week. Al-Hamad is filmed holding the heart, proclaiming:
"I swear to God, soldiers of Bashar, you dogs – we will eat your heart and livers! Takbir! God is Great! Oh my heroes of Baba Amr, you slaughter the Alawites and take their hearts out to eat them!"
He then appears to bite into the heart. His actions have been widely condemned and brought into question western support for the Syrian opposition.
Al Arabiya reported al-Hamad has now defended his actions during a conversation with Time Magazine via Skype. He claimed "he was driven to the gruesome acts by footage on the dead soldier’s cellphone, showing him 'humiliating' a naked woman and her two daughters.
Al-Hamad went on to describe participating in other rebel atrocities. As he expressed hatred for the Alawites he said:
“Hopefully we will slaughter all of them. They were the ones who killed our children in Baba Amr and raped our women. We didn’t start it, they started it. Our slogan is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
The BBC describes the Farouq Brigade as "a well-established element of the Free Syrian Army" which western analysts see as "moderately Islamic."
The mutilation of a corpse is considered an international war crime. HRW reported "opposition forces have not set up proper accountability mechanisms for abuses committed by their members." Al Arabiya reported currently Syrian rebels are undergoing training courses in international humanitarian law conducted by the NGO Geneva Call. The rebels are receiving the training in Turkey.
More about Khalid alHamad, heroes of Baba Amr, syrian rebels, Bashar the dog, Time magazine
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