Yaman Hamoud, 22, divided his time between university and working in a Gap store in Dubai, before becoming an executioner for the FSA
The journey from Gap store shop assistant to rebel executioner was short.
Six months ago, Yaman Hamoud was selling fashion, under the watchful eye of a British shop manager. By August, back home in Aleppo, the 22-year-old was part of a Free Syrian Army squad that arrested a member of the Shabiha, the hated Assad militia.
After a few hours of to-and-fro with his commander, the squad was given permission to do what they wanted with him. “We took him to the graveyard, where there was a hole in the ground,” he said, laughing. His confession was entirely unprompted. “We shot him. He fell.”
He had no remorse, but admitted he had thought about his mother. “She rings me all the time to tell me to try to avoid killing people,” he said. “She says, ‘It’s haram [forbidden], please don’t if you can help it’. But we have to do this. He was Shabiha. They have killed so many people.”
The executions and other abuses committed by the Syrian rebels do not appear to display the mass brutality of those carried out by regime forces, particularly the Shabiha. But Human Rights Watch researchers have interviewed rebel leaders and have documented regular cases of killing of prisoners.