A grisly video of a group of Syrian rebels decapitating a young boy near Aleppo, Syria in 2016, has resurfaced with claims falsely linking it to the Israel and Hamas conflict.
Note: The article contains graphic descriptions of violence.
More than 700 people have been killed in Israel and more than 500 dead in Gaza after Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a full-scale ambush on October 7, 2023 blindsiding Israeli forces. Israel has launched retaliatory air strikes and its defense minister has ordered a "complete siege" of Gaza while cutting off the supply of water, food, fuel, and electricity to the strip. Several old and unrelated videos are being shared as the ongoing conflict.
The video shows disturbing visuals of a young boy being beheaded at the back of a red pick-up truck, as Allah hu Akbar (God is Great) chants are heard in the background. The killer then lifts the severed head as a mark of victory.
A blurred version of the video was posted on X (formerly Twitter) by user @MrSinha_ with the caption, "Allah Hu Akbar & then beheaded the innocent kid.. They're not humans, their faith makes them worse than animals...So called "secular-liberals" are supporting these p!gs? (Watch it at your own risk) #IsraelUnderAttack #IslamIsTheProblem #HamasTerrorists."
BOOM has fact checked the user earlier for peddling misinformation on the platform several times
The post has not been included as it is graphic in nature.
The video is also circulating on Facebook with a similar caption.
Several replies to the X post pointed out that the video is old and not related to the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas militant forces. Taking this as a cue, we ran relevant keyword searches.
We found an article originally published in July, 2016, carrying a screengrab from the same video, which shows Syrian fighters posing with the boy before the beheading. The red pick-up truck can be seen in the background.
The article was headlined as, "U.S.-Backed ‘Moderate’ Rebels Behead a Child Near Aleppo".
Upon further keyword searches, we found several news reports that confirmed that the incident happened in Handarat near Aleppo, where members of a Syrian militant group beheaded a Palestinian boy as young as 11 years.
A news report from July 20, 2016, by the Independent, United Kingdom stated that the United States was investigating the video of Syrian rebels executing the boy. An excerpt from the report reads, "Fighters from the Syrian insurgent group Nour al-Din al-Zinki - who have previously received backing from the US - reportedly captured the young boy near Aleppo, where it is one of main opposition factions fighting the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad . An earlier video appears to show six fighters bragging about capturing the boy, who they claim was a fighter from a pro-government faction in the area."
The Syrian government had identified the boy as a Palestinian from the Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat.
Two videos had reportedly surfaced, which showed visuals of fighters holding the boy by his hair and slapping him. The second footage released later shows one of the rebels beheading the boy. Nour al-Din al-Zenki, the Islamist rebel group involved in the Syrian Civil War had then said they would investigate the video and called the execution an 'individual mistake'. According to reports, everyone involved was arrested and were being investigated.
A Hezbollah news network Almanar reported that the child was brought from one of the hospitals and slaughtered as a mark of vengeance after Nour Al Din Al Zenki's commander's brother was killed. The report further identified the assailant as Omar Salkho, one of the commanders of the militant organisation.