The Islamic State has beheaded two female civilians for the first time — for “witchcraft and sorcery.”
The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who goes by the pseudonym Rami Abdulrahman — an individual cited by the New York Times and The Washington Post in pieces about the Islamic State — confirmed wire reports of the killings to The Post early Tuesday.
“ISIS executed two women by beheading them in Deir al-Zour province” in Syria, Abdulrahman told Agence France-Presse, using an acronym for the Islamic State, “and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner.” Both women were executed with their husbands — previous reports of such beheadings remain unconfirmed by Western media. Reuters carried the same news.
The Islamic State has, of course, beheaded many people before.
The group has also killed many women, reportedly burning some Yazidi women alive and stoning others to death. (American hostage Kayla Mueller was also killed while with the group; though it’s not clear how she died, she does not seem to have been beheaded.)
But even for a group known for its terrifying acts, beheading civilian women is new. Abdulrahman told The Post that the Islamic State had beheaded at least one woman before, but waited to do so until after she was killed.
“They want to make people fear living in ISIS area,” he said.
According to the Observatory, the Islamic State has killed 3,000 people in Syria, including 1,800 civilians and 74 children.
AFP also reported the Islamic State had hung eight people from crucifixes for failing to fast during Ramadan, but those punished were taken down while they were still alive.