The amputation of a hand was live-tweeted on Friday, courtesy of the jihadist Syrian rebel group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
According to The Washington Post, the amputation took place in the remote rural town of Maskanah in the northern province of Aleppo. It was documented in a series of tweets posted by the account of a supporter of the extremist group.
The first showed a photograph of a blindfolded man having his arm positioned on a table by fighters as a masked man wielding a sword waits nearby. Another man, wearing a white robe of the kind favored in Arab Gulf countries, is reading a statement. A caption states that the blindfolded man is a thief who had asked to have his hand cut off "in order to cleanse his sins."
A second photograph was taken just as the sword is about to strike the hand while a burly fighter restrains the victim.
A third picture posted an hour later shows the man passed out, with his bloodied arm and his severed hand resting on the table. Fresh slashes in the wood suggest it took four swipes of the sword to cut the hand off, reported The Washington Post.
The newspaper later noted that the Twitter account that posted the photos had been suspended. When asked why, a Twitter spokesperson said the company doesn't comment on individual accounts and pointed to the rules and media policy.
Since it joined the civil war in Syria, ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
In one case, members of the group beheaded a person they said was a member of an Iraqi Shiite militia fighting for Assad, only to discover they had accidentally beheaded a fighter belonging to an allied rebel group.
ISIS has been targeted by rival rebel groups. In recent weeks, three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
This week, the leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front rebel group gave ISIS an ultimatum to accept arbitration by clerics or be expelled.
The threat came after ISIS rebels killed an Al-Qaeda emissary in Aleppo.