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'Atheist' Syrian Boy Reportedly Executed By Rebels

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SYRIA ALEPPO
Part of the old market in Aleppo, decimated by fighting | AP

UPDATE: Teenage Syrian 'Atheist' Reportedly Shot By Rebels (PICTURES)

A 15-year-old atheist boy was reportedly shot in the face in a brutal execution by Syrian rebels, in a crime revealed by an anti-government monitoring group concerned about the actions of some Islamist fighters.

Coffee seller Mohammad Qataa was allegedly shot in the face and neck a day after being kidnapped by an Islamist group in Aleppo, called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, once previously known as the Nusra Front.

Photos have been released of the boy's bloodied mouth, his jaw blown off, with bullet wounds to his neck.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group opposed to the Assad regime, said it had decided to reveal the horrific crime because it undermines the opposition's cause, the group said in a statement.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the boy had been arguing with someone about the existence of God, and was heard to say: "Even if the Prophet Mohammad returns, I will not become a believer."

But other sources suggested that the comment was misheard, and that the boy was actually arguing with another customer over giving him a free coffee, saying "Even if the Prophet returns, I will not give you a free coffee."

Qataa was reportedly abducted and tortured for 24 hours, before being dragged into the middle of a crowded street and executed in front of his mother. Eyewitness told the Observatory they did not believe the men were Syrian.

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The Observatory said in a statement: "People gathered around him and a member of the fighting brigade said: 'Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is a polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this'.

"He then fired two bullets from an automatic rifle in view of the crowd and in front of the boy's mother and father, and got into a car and left."

"The observatory cannot ignore these crimes, which only serve the enemies of the revolution and the enemies of humanity," the Observatory's founder Rami Abdulrahman said.

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