Macabre Role Reversal: Syrian rebels in orange jumpsuits execute 18 Isis militants in black – Newsweek
A rival jihadist group in Syria has released a brutal video showing the execution of 18 Isis militants, in a purposeful role-reversal of the videos released by the extremist group which often show black-clad militants killing victims in orange jumpsuits.
Isis has become an infamous terror force largely because of their widely propagated execution videos of Western hostages, such as American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker Alan Henning, all of which depict a black-clad militant, known as Jihadi John, standing over victims in orange jumpsuits.
However, this new 19-minute video, released late last night by Syrian rebel group Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), shows members of the group themselves robed in orange, standing over captured Isis fighters who are dressed in black. The video is slickly produced and features a variety of different camera angles in similar style to the videos released by Isis.
“This group claimed to be the mother state and made Takfir on other Muslims [accused them of apostasy], shed their blood and looted their properties and dignities,” one of the Army of Islam fighters says before the video cuts to the executions.
“This is the penalty for what they have committed. We also call on their fellows to repent,” he says.
The captured militants are led to a woodland area masked and in chains before they are executed with shotguns. The footage reveals the identities of the Isis militants in Arabic subtitles and also shows their faces, as the militants are forced to give lengthy individual confessions, before they are killed simultaneously.
In a sectarian twist to the video, it is claimed that Isis has betrayed Sunni Muslims and has allied itself with Shiite Muslims and “Nusayris”, a term used to negatively refer to Assad’s Alawite sect.The rebel group also accuse Isis of working with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Max Abrahms, professor of political science at Northeastern University and a member at the Council on Foreign Relations, says that the video is an attempt to prise other rebel groups away from the lure of Isis and to join the Army of Islam’s similarly-brutal ranks.
“The video tried to portray Isis as being in cahoots with the Assad regime, but this is really a political ploy in order for the Army of Islam to gain support from other rebel groups,” he says. “Saying that Isis are in cahoots with Assad is one way to alienate that group.”
“The rebel alternative is not a very good one. The rebels are extremists,” he adds. “Although the US has been searching desperately to find rebels, to vet and train and be a viable alternative to Islamic State, the reality is that only a tiny percentage of rebels are being sufficiently moderate for the US to invest in.”
The Army of Islam is an umbrella rebel group which was formed out of two Islamist rebel groups in Syria, the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, and is mainly situated in Ghouta, an agricultural belt around the Syrian capital of Damascus.
Last week, Isis reportedly beheaded 12 men accused of fighting for rival groups, at least three from the Army of Islam, near the Syrian capital in a video entitled “Repent Before Being Overcome”. In Syria, where Isis first established their caliphate in the city of Raqqa last year, the group is battling a number of rebel factions, such as the Nusra Front among others, and Assad’s regime forces.