The Boy Beheaded by Zinki Fighters, Abdullah Tayseer, Who Was He? – By Ehsani2

The Boy Beheaded by Zinki Fighters, Abdullah Tayseer, Who Was He?
By Ehsani2
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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 4.28.08 PM

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 The reason for this discrepancy is that the ID he had on him was out of date.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.

Comments (30)

Adam Larson said:

So USA, pause away.

July 22nd, 2016, 7:17 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

I condemn this killing as a true murder, the one who committed that crime must be punished, this revolution is for morality to win over immorality , people like the one who committed this murder has no place in this great revolution , such a crime is only possible by Assad people, who killed many children , I call for the Zenki group to try the killer and deliver justice

July 22nd, 2016, 7:45 pm


Ali Mallah said:

Majed, what revolution are you talking about? How many more people were brutally beheaded by these ruthless killers?
The ID card is not accurate, it was made after the heinous crime.Here is another ID was made for Lebanese media person Carol Maalouf

July 22nd, 2016, 8:04 pm


Charles Cameron said:

Zanki or Zinki — or is it (as here) half a dozen of one, half a dozen of the other?

July 22nd, 2016, 8:57 pm


Jasmin said:

It’s a fake ID Mr. Landis!
I’d like be able (unfortunately it isn’t possible here) to send you the same ID card but for Carol Maalouf, the Great Lebanese journalist whom, always, advocates terrorism!

July 23rd, 2016, 4:07 am


ALAN said:

/This great revolution/
How can you call it (great) revolution, if it caused a humanitarian fatal repercussions not only in Syria, but even bounces inhumane and immoral repercussions on the other countries in the region and beyond? as the substrate on which it relied the hybrid war?
/I call for the Zenki group to try the killer and deliver justice/
Did you find the in Zenki group, the competent and suitable entity to achieve the desired justice?
Are you trying to wash our brains?

July 23rd, 2016, 4:32 am


Tara said:


Where was your post when Assad regime threw a barrel bomb that beheaded a 3 years old with white soaks and her father was taped holding the body of his little girl without a head. Did I miss it?

Having said that . The savagery committed by rebels is criminal at the same scale and the perpetrators should be tried for war crimes and receive capital punishment and zenki clan should disintegrate itself for its failure to prevent such horrific acts

Without accusing ihsani per se of selective humanity, I am convinced that this site does have selective humanity

July 23rd, 2016, 5:59 am


Gaye Dalton said:

I have noticed that this poor lad’s name seems to change 3 times a day, forgive me if I am not certain it ends at Abdullah Tayseer. His age varies from 10 to 22. I have never heard him referred to as anything except Palestinian though, and the very first, local amateur, not media, reports were insistent that he was 14.

Doesn’t really matter though does it? We don’t behead 14 year old’s either in the best of circles. Which, of course, does not include ISIS:
This is not mainstream and hope upon hope it is apocryphal

The story you are hearing is uncannily similar to a story told by an very honest UK in law of mine about WWII (that proved impossible to verify after his death) including the battlefield execution of a 15/16 year old by Japanese. 14 year old boys are much the same the world over and throughout time…and pull the same kind of stunts, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Most of a generation of 14 year old boys signed up for WWI

Anyway, the ID bothers me. Whichever inbred refugee from the movie “Deliverance” (every rural area has them. There is a family less than 10 miles from me with 2 or 3 members who have been convicted of completely independent and equivalent “thrill killings”) decided this would make a useful addition to social media and pulled out his iphone, did not get a clear full face shot.

There is no doubt in my mind that the photograph is of a close family member, but I am not 100% sure it is the same boy…his mouth is different, thinner and no sign of the big teeth he had (on the other hand the use of an older relative’s photo ID for a variety of reasons is quite common in the land of 14…)

Nour al-Din al-Zinki were not at the top of my Christmas card list, but in this instance this atrocity seems to have shocked them sensible and, so far, they have really stepped up to the plate, and seem determined to handle it as well as any administration could be expected to. Which excludes any scenario involving a kangaroo court where a judge proclaims that:

“Having been tried and found guilty by a jury of the UK tabloid media, face book and twitter it is my duty to sentence you to the maximum the law allows” and puts on the black hankie.

Al Zinki seem determined to follow due process.

Whatever you think of Al Zinki politically or ideologically. It is beyond unlikely that the majority of them are any less horrified than you or I by this atrocity.

The men who committed it are sick, twisted sadists, who found their way into Al Zinki, possibly even because, at a local level, they were known and deemed to be safer on the inside spitting out than on the outside spitting in.

There is a chance this poor boy’s death has brought a chink of the understanding that will be needed for Syria to ever return to normality. A very dear friend, now deceased, was the psychological consultant on negotiating peace in a variety of sectarian conflicts and civil wars.

He explained to me once that the first step to resolution is not to focus on the differences, but to focus on the common ground.

The visceral reaction to the brutal, hands on murder of a young boy who was already seriously ill or badly injured in some way *IS* a giant piece of common ground shared by the vast majority of every side.

July 23rd, 2016, 6:11 am


Jan Fearing said:

The “moderate rebels” have tortured, slaughtered, raped, kidnapped and looted their way thru previously safe Syria. Stop pretending any of it is legitimate.

July 23rd, 2016, 6:44 am


ALAN said:

The creation and manipulation of social upheavals – variously called “great Revolutions”, Arab Springs, and so on — were the perfecting of the same criminal dirty tricks: how to trigger a coup d’état without paying for the consequences of public involvement – The geopolitical ability has been mostly limited to the creation and manipulation of terrorism, organized crime, media campaigns, propagandas — all to obfuscate and cover up criminal operations that otherwise would be simply and openly acts of wars.
Down with Americas warmongering behavior

July 23rd, 2016, 6:49 am


sowhat said:

this poor boy seems no more than 13 years old
how can you be sure that the ID card is genuine ?
come on … you’re trying to minimize the horror of these scums crimes. This is outrageous.
Besides you should recall that Nour el Dine Zenki (likewise other “moderate revolutionaries” has committed numerous atrocities in Aleppo and its suburbs

July 23rd, 2016, 6:52 am


Charles Cameron said:

Seriously, in the post above the words Zinki and Zanki are both used half a dozen times.

I’m not an Arabist, so I don’t know whether these are two different orthographies for the sme word, or if one of them’s a repeated typo — but I asked up above, and my comment hasn’t been posted although a more recent comment has been. I’m not trying to be cute, I’m trying to get clarity on a detail in Ehsani2’s post — and if one of the two spellings is incorrect, to suggest the typos might be corrected.

July 23rd, 2016, 7:01 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

I hope you understand Arabic
قال علي بن ابي طالب كلما ناقشت جاهل خسرت ، و كلما ناقشت متعلم ربحت
I do not care to discuss with you

July 23rd, 2016, 8:27 am


ALAN said:

I hope you understand Arabic
هل أنت بالعقيدة متأسلم؟
The comment directed to the content and not to the personality.

July 23rd, 2016, 9:28 am


sowhat said:


scum in english and arabic

comment directed as well to content as to whoever scum wrote it

July 23rd, 2016, 9:46 am


Ghufran said:

The same terrorist group that was labeled as moderate by the CIA boneheads has shelled a public park in western Aleppo killing 10 and wounding 44, pro rebels media are trying to hide the gruesome images that start to come this morning.
Back to our friend erdogan, a senior army officer has ” committed suicide” according to Uthmani media crooks.
That sounds like the suicide committed by Ghazi Kinaan in Syria !!

July 23rd, 2016, 11:11 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

I read in Quraan
و اذا خاطبهم الجاهلون قالو سلاما

July 23rd, 2016, 11:26 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

Turkish authority today released 1200 soldiers , they were arrested for investigations , they found not guilty , they were returned to their jobs , this report was reported by Al Hayat news paper,جريدة الحياة

July 23rd, 2016, 11:32 am


ALAN said:

Gulen is a CIA asset, who most probably will blab everything he knows about the CIA’s presence in Turkey at the first threat of enhanced interrogation.

ISIS Leader Admits We Are Being Funded By The Obama Administration


The LIAR Obama Rejects Claims U.S. Had Advance Knowledge of Turkey Coup

July 23rd, 2016, 12:29 pm


ALAN said:

/قال علي بن ابي طالب كلما ناقشت جاهل خسرت ، و كلما ناقشت متعلم ربحت/
اسمع من عمق الدار الامريكية أيها التائه
EIR’s Jeff Steinberg interviews Virginia State Senator Richard Black on his recent trip to Syria and Lebanon. The two discuss the resilience of the Syrian people, the impact of U.S. sanctions on Syria, and the overall U.S. and Western strategy of “regime change.”

July 23rd, 2016, 4:01 pm


david montoute said:

@ Charles Cameron #12

Yes, “Zinki” and “Zanki” are different transcriptions of the same name. The Arabic alphabet is an “abjad” or consonantal alphabet. So unstressed vowels are not written (although they can be indicated). This means that the Arabic name for Egypt, for example, can be transcribed as “Misr”, “Mesr” or “Masr”, and neither is more correct than another. Similarly, different European languages transcribe Arabic differently, so we can have the name “Allawi” also written as “Alaoui”.

As for the claim of “selective humanity” made by Tara, this accusation could credibly be made against each and every media outlet in the world. Does Syria Comment show more of the government or Alawi perspective? Perhaps, but not to the extent that the site’s objectivity is compromised. And there is no shortage of extremely biased and unbalanced pro-rebel coverage elsewhere on the web, for those who prefer that.

July 23rd, 2016, 7:16 pm


Adam Larson said:

Charles Cameron, it’s a transliteration, no exact right way, or half dozen either way. Arabic الزنكي transliterates al-znki, vowel unclear.

July 23rd, 2016, 8:44 pm


Adam Larson said:

Ok, I looked into what Ali and Jasmin said. I’m not sure of the source for the Maalouf card, but as shown, it’s the same card used for Abdullah here. Same blue writing, same text all over, it seems, same stamp and four little holes near the top, same photo angle. Is anything but the picture different? Does it say he’s Carol Maalouf or what? Hm! See comparison here

July 23rd, 2016, 9:13 pm


Ghufran said:

Ankara’s chief prosecutor Harun Kodalak was reported by Turkish media as saying that 1,200 soldiers detained in the wake of the coup had been released.
Those freed were said to be low-ranking soldiers. Thousands of other service personnel, including more than 100 generals and admirals, remain in detention.

July 23rd, 2016, 9:20 pm


Adam Larson said:

Update: Looking into context, the Maalouf card is a likely hoax, only appearing after Abdullah’s. See discussion page attached to the above link. However, note they both have a stamp that stops at photo edge, so it was probably faked the first time, after it was stamped. Would that really convince anyone? What would be the point, except to sow an idea with the public, maybe about his age and/or fake-ID-getting fighter status? Not sure…

July 23rd, 2016, 10:19 pm


ALAN said:

Air Force Intelligence Directorate – Special Operations Department of military Air Force and Air Defense command awarded a kid, which does not exceed 14 years old, contractor card? Have you heard anything similar even in banana republics?
Fascinates me the level of your intelligence!

July 24th, 2016, 5:17 am


Charles Cameron said:

Well, I’m grateful to Josh Landis for graciously approving my previous comments for publication, and happy to note that my concern regarding the discrepant names used in the article, zinki and zanki, is not without cause — as Kyle Orton just noted in A Rebel Crime and Western Lessons in Syria:

“One of the first complications with al-Zengi is the sheer variety of ways to transliterate the group’s name. Nooradeen can be Nooridin, Noorideen, and Noor/Nur al-Din/Deen; Zengi can be Zangi and Zinki, among others. Harakat means “movement,” though sometimes the organization is referred to as kataib (brigade) instead. Nooradeen refers to the twelfth-century Seljuk atabeg of the Zengid dynasty, whose life’s project was the reunification of the Islamic community.”

No wonder I was confused.

So I suppose my plea is for analysts with special knowledge of places, groups or languages to bear in mind that their interested audiences may not share those specialities but are still worth reaching — and in particular that non-specialists, while inherently weak in detail, may nevertheless contribute significant insights from outside linguistic or area-specialist silos, precisely by virtue of not being in the echo chambers that such forms of specialism themselves tend to erect.

July 24th, 2016, 1:17 pm


sowhat said:

Charles Cameron

Zanki or Zenki or Zengi whatever the name, these are the SCUMS and MONSTERS that have been supported and armed till now by the US and their allies under the name of “moderate rebels” or “moderate revolutionaries” . These scums deserve no better to be burn alive. I hope this day will come soon

July 24th, 2016, 1:39 pm


Charles Cameron said:

BTW, thanks to Adam Larson for his clarification — much appreciated.

It’s the community of analysts I’m addressing, and I’ve expanded on my most recent comment above at

Thanks again.

July 24th, 2016, 3:10 pm


Thomas Hood said:

Look at the picture. This child is not a 14 year old boy. Thus the outrage at his beheading. Signs of torture appear on his left arm, so nothing he confessed to can be believed. Ehsani2’s informants among the Zinki terrorists — if that is where he is getting his information — are not reliable sources of factual information. An Iranian news source gave the age of this child as 12 and said that the commander and executioner have been hunted down and killed. Sorry I did not save the link. Anyway, in this one case there has been a semblance of justice.

July 29th, 2016, 12:05 pm


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