By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — An Islamic State (IS) militant executed his mother in public in Syria, activist groups said on January 8.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Ali Saqr shot his mother to death “in front of hundreds of people” near the post office building where she worked in the IS stronghold of Raqqa on January 7, because she had begged him to leave the extremist group.
It said Saqr had reported his mother to IS “authorities,” who subsequently arrested the woman and accused her of apostasy.
Saqr’s mother, who was in her forties, was living in the nearby town of Tabaqa but worked in Raqqa, the Observatory said.
But another group, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), said that the reports suggesting Saqr shot his mother because she tried to get him to leave IS were incorrect. It said he killed her because she was an Alawite and therefore considered an apostate.
Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi of RBSS told RFE/RL via Skype that there was “more than one reason” why Saqr had killed his mother.
Saqr — whose age was given by different groups as 20 or 21 — had a bad reputation in Raqqa before IS took over the city in January 2014, according to Abu Ibrahim.
Saqr was a “bad guy” who was well known for his excessive drinking and fighting, including with knives.
“When IS came, [Saqr] joined them from the first,” Abu Ibrahim told RFE/RL.
RBSS identified Saqr’s mother as Lena al-Qasem, an Alawite originally from Syria’s Latakia province — a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
A January 2 post on a Facebook page believed to belong to Saqr cursed “the Rafidite [a derogatory term used by some Sunnis to refer to Shi’ites] Shi’ites and the heretic Nusayris [a derogatory term for Alawites].”
The IS group has executed hundreds of people it has accused of working with its enemies or breaching of its ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam.
Many others were killed on the grounds of homosexuality, practicing magic, and apostasy.
According to the Observatory, IS executed more than 2,000 Syrian civilians in the 18 months since it declared its “caliphate” over the territory it controls in Syria and Iraq.