DAMASCUS — The Free Syrian Army (FSA) pledged on Wednesday to punish atrocities amid outrage over a video showing the mutilation of a corpse, as the regime ruled out discussing President Bashar Assad’s departure in negotiations.
Meanwhile, Syria’s Internet was down for the second time in a week and rebels attacked the central prison in Aleppo, sparking fierce fighting with regime forces, a watchdog said.
The mainstream rebel FSA issued a statement after a gory video emerged online of an alleged insurgent cutting out and apparently eating the organs of a regime soldier.
“Any act contrary to the values that the Syrian people have paid their blood and lost their homes [for] will not be tolerated; the abuser will be punished severely even if they are associated with the Free Syrian Army,” said the FSA.
Field commanders had been instructed “to begin a prompt investigation into the matter in which the perpetrator will be brought to justice”.
Investigations would also be held into whether the rebel in the video is a member of the FSA or not.
The man in the video, identified as Khalid Al Hamad, defended his actions in an interview with Time Magazine, saying he was driven to them by footage on the dead soldier’s phone showing him “humiliating” a woman and her two daughters, all of them naked.
He expressed sectarian hatred of the Alawite community, the religious minority to which President Assad belongs.
His actions were also condemned by Syria’s opposition National Coalition, as well as the United States and the United Nations.
The gruesome incident raised new fears about the potential for grisly sectarian violence in Syria.
On Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog reported Al Nusra Front jihadists summarily executed three army officers in the northern city of Raqa.