Campaigner was photographed moments before his murder in rural Aleppo
Forced to his knees and shot at point-blank range by rifle-wielding militants
Man is understood to have been an activist who secretly reported on ISIS
Execution images were released on same day as ISIS made bizarre attempt to portray life under the terror as a pastoral ideal with farmer photographs
Harrowing images have emerged showing the seconds before a media activist was brutally murdered by militants loyal to the Islamic State in Syria.
Taken on the frontline of fighting in the countryside outside the rebel-held city of Aleppo, the photos show a prisoner wearing an orange jumpsuit being forced to his knees before being shot.
ISIS released the disturbing photographs on the same day as they bizarrely attempted to portray everyday life under the terror group’s control as happy and carefree – distributing images of smiling farmers living near Aleppo who use Western technology to grow and harvest their abundant crops.
Images of the media activist’s brutal execution were released by ISIS’ Halab Media Centre, which operates in and around the city of Aleppo and has previously released sickening images and videos of the terror organisation murdering anybody who dares to oppose them.
Brave activists operating on the ground in Syria have been hugely successful in helping to unite and inspire a resistance against the terror group by sharing images and reports of their atrocities online.
Groups such as Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, which operates in ISIS’ de facto capital city, work undercover, secretly filming ISIS militants as they take part in near daily massacres.
This has, however, made the activists a major target, with the terror group exacting bloody revenge on those found to be spreading information on their activities. Charged as spies, the campaigners face certain death – either by being shot at point-blank range or crucified in a public square.
The activist seen in the latest ISIS photographs show him just moments before his ‘execution’.
The fact he was forced to his knees and the presence of men standing around him wielding assault rifles has led analysts to believe his death was almost certainly by shooting, even though his moment of death is not shown and there are no images of his body.
With his arms tightly bound behind his back with plastic handcuffs, blurry images show the victim being dragged through a public square by his heavily armed captors.
His name and the group he worked for are not known, but ISIS identified the man as a ‘media activist’ understood to have been murdered sometime earlier this week.
The images emerged on the same day as ISIS made a bizarre attempt to portray themselves as a peace-loving group by distributing photos of smiling farmers harvesting their crops.
Using Western-style crop-spraying equipment, a group of young men are seen in the fields happily picking cabbages while young boys load them on to the back of a lorry.
The happy pastoral scene is in stark contrast to the campaign of rape and massacre ISIS has brought to vast stretches of the Syria and Iraq – where depraved extremists carry out daily atrocities in the name of the radical interpretation if Islam.
The juxtaposing scenes emerged as Kurdish officials claimed ISIS militants were preparing for an attack on a city in north east Syria, near the border with Iraq, where the terror group remains a significant threat despite recent setbacks elsewhere in the two countries.
Hasaka province in north east Syria is strategically important for all sides and borders ISIS-held territory in Iraq, where the group is back on the offensive after losing Tikrit earlier this month.
The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia has recorded significant victories against ISIS this year, driving it from the town of Kobane at the Turkish border and then taking two towns in Hasaka province with the help of a U.S.-led air campaign.
But ISIS remains a danger, said Redur Xelil, YPG spokesman. Its targets include the provincial capital, Hasaka city, and the town of Tel Tamr, to the northwest. ISIS is still believed to be holding some 200 Assyrian Christians abducted in February from villages near Tel Tamr.
‘South of Hasaka there are areas that Daesh controls entirely. There is a big Daesh mobilisation outside the city, and there are big fears of an attack on Hasaka city,’ Xelil said in an interview from the city of Qamishli via Skype.
Daesh is an Arabic name for ISIS, which calls itself Islamic State.
For now, ISIS’ priority is Tel Tamr, where it aims to cut a YPG supply route, he added.
ISIS is ‘trying to take big cities, to take the battle into cities’ to mark it harder for the U.S.-led alliance to hit it, he said.
Hasaka is home to many Syrians who have fled areas further west, including the country’s second city Aleppo, Xelil said.
The Syrian Observatory, which monitors the Syrian civil war, reports daily clashes between the YPG and ISIS fighters near Tel Tamr, and clashes between the Syrian military and ISIS in areas west and east of Hasaka city.
The YPG has emerged as the only partner for the U.S.-led alliance bombing ISIS in Syria.
But its effectiveness is greatly diminished beyond areas where the Kurds have set up autonomous zones since Syria’s conflict erupted in 2011.
The United States, rejecting any partnership with President Bashar al-Assad against ISIS, is about to launch a programme to train and equip members of the mainstream Syrian opposition in order to fight the jihadists elsewhere.
Xelil said the YPG had not been consulted on the programme, adding that its requests for military supplies remained unmet.