The corpse of a top member of the Islamic State’s (IS, ISIS, ISIL) self-declared police force in Syria, which has carried out beheadings, was found decapitated with signs of torture and a cigarette stuffed in the mouth, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The U.K.-based Observatory, which monitors the conflict in Syria through a network of sources on the ground, describes the decapitated senior cop as an Egyptian national who served as the deputy “emir” of the “al-Hesbah” (Islamic police) force.
Citing “reliable sources,” the monitor group reported that his body, which showed signs of torture, was found near the power plant in the city of al-Mayadin in Deir Ezzor, an eastern province in Syria that borders Iraq.
Sources also told the Observatory that a cigarette was “put” in the mouth of the ISIS police officer and the message “hateful and evil thing” was found written on the cadaver.
According to residents in areas conquered by the Islamic State, the jihadist group prohibits smoking, noted Reuters.
“We do not know whether Islamic State killed him or whether it was local people or other fighters,” Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory, told Reuters. “Either way it is important, because he was a very important man,” he added.
The head of the Observatory said he believed the incident marked the first time that a member of the ISIS police force had been beheaded.
In a sign of potential anti-ISIS sentiment among residents, the Observatory also mentioned that “unknown men” attempted to kill two Islamic State jihadists in the same city where the corpse was found.
The men tried to kill one of the ISIS jihadists by running him over with a car near the al-Teba roundabout in the city of al-Mayadin. Another jihadist was “seriously” injured with a metal weapon by two men riding a motorcycle.
ISIS, an offshoot of al-Qaeda, has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria. U.S.-led airstrikes have been targeting ISIS in Iraq since August and in Syria since September.
“Residents and activists said it has beheaded and stoned to death many people in areas it controls for being enemy fighters or for actions they see as violating their reading of Islamic law, such as adultery and blasphemy,” reported Reuters.
“In December, a similar self-declared police force in western Syria decapitated four men after accusing them of blasphemy, according to the Observatory. It reported a similar killing days earlier in the north of the country,” the article added.