An important figure in the Islamic State’s self-appointed police force who had decapitated people for the group in the past was found beheaded in eastern Syria, according to a monitoring group.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Jan. 6 that the decapitated man was an Egyptian national known as the deputy “emir” of the al-Hesbah force in a Syrian province.
The man’s body was found near a power plant in al-Mayadeen city in the Deir-al-Zor province, and the corpse indicated signs of torture.
“We do not know whether Islamic State killed him or whether it was local people or other fighters,” said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the journalist group that has been reporting on recent events in Syria.
“Either way it is important, because he was a very important man,” Abdulrahman added, noting that it was the first time to their knowledge that an al-Hesbah member had been executed in such a manner.
The Observatory also noted that a message was found written on the corpse, stating: “This is evil, you Sheikh.” The decapitated head was found with a cigarette in its mouth — smoking was recently outlawed by the Islamic State.
Self-appointed police forces for the Islamic State have been cracking down on local populations and issuing severe punishments to anyone they feel violates its version of Islamic law.
According to the Observatory, a police force in western Syria decapitated four men for allegedly committing blasphemy in December. The group reported a similar incident just days earlier in the northern region of the country.
The police forces are feeling some resistance as the Observatory reported that unknown assailants tried to kill two Islamic State militants in al-Mayadeen city on Jan. 6. One militant was reportedly almost ran over by a car while another was allegedly hit by an assailant riding a motorcycle carrying a metal weapon. The report says the militant was seriously wounded.