Gaining credible reporting and footage from inside Syria's crisis is becoming a Herculean task. Images can be impossible to verify, and available video or photographs can easily be thrown around to benefit certain political goals. But, a harrowing series of images submitted by one journalist to Time Magazine on Thursday are still worth viewing, with this in mind.
A journalist sent Time this footage of a public execution by decapitation of a young Syrian. While some similar footage of rebel violence has emerged in recent days, it is rare to have access to footage from a reportedly neutral journalist's lens. The reporter says the footage comes the town of Keferghan, near Aleppo, from August 21, 2013. According to several magazine sources, the execution took place by ISIS militants, from the Al-Qaeda franchise operating in Syria and Iraq. The heartbreaking images and video coverage are available here via Time.
The footage is clearly horrific. While it can be translated for political purposes to promote one policy response or another, this type of footage should primarily serve as an indicator of just how dire the humanitarian situation has become.
"That scene in Syria, that moment, was like a scene from the Middle Ages, the kind of thing you read about in history books. The war in Syria has reached the point where a person can be mercilessly killed in front of hundreds of people. As a human being I would never have wished to see what I saw. But as a journalist I have a camera and a responsibility. I have a responsibility to share what I saw that day. That’s why I am making this statement and that’s why I took the photographs. I will close this chapter soon and try never to remember it," said the photographer, who wished to remain anonymous.