Video shows a militant biting into a Syrian soldier’s heart

A gruesome video — showing an opposition commander biting into the heart of a dead Syrian soldier — has caused widespread revulsion and added pressure for finding a political solution to the bloody two-year-old conflict.

Human Rights groups have expressed outrage at the cannibalistic act. Human Rights Watch (HRW) — the U.S. based rights group — identified the commander seen in the video as Abu Sakkar. It said that his barbarous act was a war crime.

“I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar …..,” said Mr. Sakkar referring to President Bashar al-Assad, as he stood over the corpse of the soldier. Mr. Sakkar — a militant from Homs — who belongs to the so-called Independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade, has earlier posed with the bodies of his foes, including those belonging to the Lebanese Hizbollah.

War crime

Commenting on the act, HRW said: “The mutilation of the bodies of enemies is a war crime. But the even more serious issue is the very rapid descent into sectarian rhetoric and violence”.

The uproar has forced a sense of urgency to the conference on Syria that was jointly proposed by Moscow and Washington last week. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov announced in Stockholm that the conference was likely to be held in Geneva next month.

However, as the countdown for the meeting begins, sparks are flying among those who support and reject the Syrian President on the compilation of the guest list.

Mr. Lavrov has gone on the offensive by declaring that Iran — Syria’s top ally — must be present during the possibly path-breaking talks. In an interview on Monday with Al-Mayadeen TV, Mr. Lavrov slammed the U.S. for showing partisanship by trying to pack supporters of the Syrian opposition at the high table in Geneva.

The consternation was also felt in the corridors of power in Damascus. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said on Tuesday his country needed to study more “details” and analyse “developments” before taking a decision on participation. A day earlier, he told the Lebanese Al Manar television that Syria was not willing to discuss the fate of the President, the form of government and the constitution, all of which are “the essence of sovereignty”.

Inflamed situation

Focused on negotiations, the Russian side has made it plain that all attempts to aggravate the already inflamed military situation, including efforts to establish a no-fly zone must be capped.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also sounded visiting Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in Sochi that the time had arrived to move away from the battlefield to the negotiating table.

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