ISIS Youth Carry Out Mass Execution Of Syrian Soldiers In Palmyra's Amphitheater

July 4, 2015

The following report is a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On July 4, 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS) information bureau in Homs province released a 10 minute video titled "Allah Heals the Believers' Chests". The video, distributed by the jihadi forum Al-Shumoukh[i] and elsewhere, shows ISIS youth fighters executing 25 captives from Assad's army in historic Palmyra's ancient amphitheater. This most professionally edited video seeks to show how ISIS symbolically avenges the thousands of Sunnis who were imprisoned and tortured in Palmyra prison. The video ends with ISIS members blowing up the prison.

The video starts with the narrator declaring that ISIS fighters relentlessly attack the Nusayri Army [the Assad Army] and their allies everywhere and punish them as they deserve. The narrator, backed by footage showing Syrian Army corpses scattered in the streets of Tadmur, notes that every battle concludes with dead Syrian Army soldiers and many others fleeing for their lives. However, he adds that the conquest of Palmyra and Sukhna and the takeover of checkpoints and (oil and gas) company compounds yielded a haul of many Syrian soldiers captured. These prisoners' hands "are stained with the blood of unfortunate Sunni Muslims, leaving no other option but to repay them in kind."  ISIS forces drag the chained captive soldiers from their cells in Palmyra prison and ferry them in a pickup truck convoy to Palmyra's ancient amphitheater.

In the next scene the condemned soldiers kneel on the amphitheater's stage and behind every captive soldier stands a youth in ISIS uniform with a drawn pistol. The camera slowly pans the faces of the soldiers who appear beaten and bruised possibly as a result of injuries sustained on the battlefield or blows administered to them by ISIS members during their captivity.

The main spokesman at the execution reads out three main messages from the stage. The first message, directed to all Muslims claims that even if the Muslims are angry with ISIS or hate them, ISIS will still protect them and preserve their dignity the because this is Allah's command. In the second message, addressed to the "Caliph of the Believers", Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, ISIS members declare that they are fulfilling his directive to take revenge for the Muslims. The third message is targeted at the "Arab tyrants" [the Arab rulers] infidel tyrants and any oppressor: "We placed our feet deep inside your homes despite your fortresses that you assumed would protect you from Allah. But we penetrated these fortresses and trampled them with the help of Allah may he be exalted". The speaker presents the young executioners as "the lion cubs (the caliphate youth) who carry out Allah's sentence upon the Nusayri captives whom we took prisoner with Allah's help in the recent Homs battle. When he finishes, the 25 youths shoot the captives in the back of their necks.

The video's final part is devoted to Palmyra prison. The narrator notes that in this prison, thousands of Sunni Muslims were imprisoned and tortured especially those who belong to groups stressing "the oneness of G-d" (meaning Jihadi Salafist groups). ISIS members rig the prison with explosive charges and detonate it. The video concludes as an ISIS operative stands on the ruins of the prison and announces that thousands of Sunni Muslims had been avenged. He also threatens the "accursed Nusayris" (the Assad regime and the 'Alawites) that soon they will free all the captives, destroy all their prisons and topple their chairs (overthrow the regime).



The crowd of spectators at the execution


The captive soldiers await their fate, behind them are young adolescents waiting to shoot them


The youths shoot the captives

Palmyra prison is detonated

The ruins of Palmyra prison following its detonation by ISIS




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