Syrian supporters of the Al-Nusra group
Syrian supporters of the Al-Nusra group AFP photo

Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadist rebel groups in Syria have warned citizens against “hurting the dignity” of the prophet Muhammad.

As the civil war in Syria has continued, a 13-member rebel coalition broke away from the main opposition force and has declared its own Islamic state in Aleppo.

The warning not to insult Muhammad was made in a leaflet published by this coalition, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, in the Jarabulus District of the Aleppo province in recent days.

"The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria hereby announcesthebeginning of theimplementation ofIslamic lawregarding theexecution ofall those whocurseAllah, hurt his sacrednessor treat him improperly, andallwhocursetheProphet(Muhammad), hurt his dignity orreferto him in anappropriateway,” the leaflet reads.

The leaflet also states that these executions will be carried out in the central square near the cultural center of the town of Jarabulus.

A Sharia (Islamic religious) court already operates in northern Syria and is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses. An armed militia that operates on behalf of the court arrests and interrogates suspects and then performs the executions after the verdict and sentencing are issued.

As the civil war in Syria has raged on, both rebels and regime troops have carried out atrocities.

One horrific atrocity carried out by members of Islamist Syrian rebel groups was the public beheading of a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime.

Video footage posted on the Internet several months ago documented a rebel fighter eating the heart of a government soldier.

Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.