Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—A video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) appears to suggest it has executed four of its own members, for what it said was their attempts to “revolt” against the group.
The video, released on the Internet on Monday, said the group had intercepted a “cell” of four “extremist” members who had been planning an “armed revolt against the Caliphate.”
The cell was seeking to “destabilize security” in areas under ISIS’s control, it said, and pave the way for outside attacks from “the crusaders, the Free Syrian Army, and the Nusayri regime.”
“Nusayri,” another term for Alawites, is a reference to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, whose family follow the Shi’ite Alawite sect. ISIS also uses the term “crusaders” to refer to Western powers such as the United States.
A portion of the video also included an audio recording, purportedly of the four men, which ISIS said constituted an “admission” of guilt.
The voices featured on the recording—speaking in Turkish in the Azerbaijani dialect—said they were intending to carry out armed attacks against the group in Syria, Iraq and surrounding areas.
They claimed ISIS was an infidel organization due to its failure to declare the entire populations of Iraq and Syria as infidels. They also declared ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to be outside the fold of Islam, due to what they claimed was his collecting money from “infidel populations,” which, in turn, also made him an infidel.
The video did not specify where the recording was made.
It also did not explicitly say the four men were executed—although it finished with a Qur’anic verse affirming that “the punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might . . .for mischief through the land” would be “execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land.” (Surat Al-Maeda 5.33)
A civil activist from Raqqa—who asked to be identified only as “Abu Mohamed”—told Asharq Al-Awsat that he believed the men had been executed, but put the total figure of this more-extreme splinter movement within ISIS at 50, not four.
“The group executed the four Turkish members who were featured in the video, but after having interrogated them, they discovered the cell also included dozens of other fighters from the group, including Turks, Syrians, Azerbaijanis and other nationalities. These men were all sentenced to death,” he said.