In an uncharacteristic display of remorse, members of an al-Qaeda-linked militant group in Syria have come forward to apologize for wrongfully decapitating a man earlier this week. Were the fighters suddenly overcome my remorse?
Actually, no. The Telegraph reports that the militants of of the Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) simply discovered they killed the wrong man, mistaking Mohammad Fares Marroush for an Iraqi Shia militant fighting for President Assad when, in reality, he belonged to a fellow-Sunni Islamist rebel group, Ahrar al-Sham. Thus, they killed one of their own and are now sorely regretting it.
The extent to which the beheading constituted an honest mistake is unclear, though. A spokesman for ISIS confirmed that Marroush disappeared several days ago after reportedly being wounded in battle near Aleppo. In the chaos of battle and injury, it is possible the rebels mistook Marroush for someone else.
Other sources, though, report that, under the influence of anesthesia and pain-induced delirium, Marroush uttered several phrases that suggested he was an adherent of Shia Islam. This would make him a traitor to the Sunni militants and thus eligible for beheading, as was his fate.
Whether unfortunate mistake or wrongful retribution, the ISIS spokesman apologized for the incident, asking for "restraint and piety," CNN reports.
New York Times reporters C.J. Chivers wrote on Thursday that Ahrar al-Sham circulated a wanted poster for two men allegedly involved in the beheading.
The Syrian civil war has raged for more two years, claiming more than 100,000 lives. Millions of Syrians have left their homes and sought refuge in different parts of the country and neighboring nations.