Posted by Joshua on Friday, July 22nd, 2016
The Boy Beheaded by Zinki Fighters, Abdullah Tayseer, Who Was He?
For Syria Comment, July 22, 2016
The video of the beheading of the young Syrian boy by the Zanki group in Aleppo caused widespread public shock. Since the appearance of the video, the boy’s identity has been the subject of much speculation. This account of his identity is based on hours of conversations with Aleppo residents who knew the deceased, personally.
The boy’s name is Abdullah Tayseer, as has been widely reported. A copy of his ID has been circulating online.
While the ID states that he is born in 1997, which would make him 19 years old, he is actually 14. The reason for the discrepancy is because the only way he could obtain this type of ID was for him to be above the age 18. He lied to get it. The person or group that issued him the ID most likely knew his true age. Sadly, as this war has gone on, young men have joined fight. The coalition representing the Syrian opposition released a communique deploring the use of child soldiers by the Syrian government. The communique failed, of course, to look into how widespread this practice has been among the armed groups.
The Zanki group that beheaded Abdullah Tayseer claimed that he was working for the Quds brigade, which is true. His ID, however, shows his affiliation to be with Air Force Intelligence. The reason for this discrepancy is that the ID he had on him was out of date. He joined the Quds Brigade a month ago, but was yet to be issued a new ID by this group.
Abdullah was Palestinian and not Syrian. He had accompanied a group of fighters to Handarat. As the fighting intensified, he could not escape and was caught by the Zanki fighters as a number of the videos have shown. Most fighters who were captured have been held under arrest until they could be used in prisoner exchanges. This may explain why Abdullah seems to have been medically treated first. The group that is seen taking selfies with him before he was killed decided to punish him after taunting him repeatedly on video. The Zanki fighter who performed the beheading was reportedly angry at having seen his own brother killed recently in Handarat. Personally beheading this 14 year old was his way of extracting revenge.
The United States, which has previously provided military support to the Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement, said it was “seeking more information” and that it could not confirm the “appalling report” at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“If we can prove that this was indeed what happened and this group was involved… it would give us pause about any assistance or, frankly, any further involvement with this group,” state department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.