BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamist rebels in the northern Syrian town of Saraqeb have publicly flogged two men for violating an Islamic ban on marriage to recently divorced women, according to an internet video uploaded this week.
The video showed a gunman reading out the verdict of an Islamic court which found the elder of the two men guilty of marrying off his daughter to the younger man less than three months after her divorce.
He said the normal punishment for the two men would have been death, but due to the turmoil of Syria’s two-year civil war the court had handed down sentences of 50 lashes for the older man and 40 for the younger.
The two men then lay on the ground as a masked man whipped them one after the other.
Syria’s uprising against President Bashar al-Assad started as peaceful protests for reform but his opponents resorted to arms after he sought to crush the protests by force.
The mainly Sunni Muslim rebellion against the Alawite president has taken an increasingly Islamist tone, with rebels setting up Islamic courts dispensing Sharia justice in areas under their control - alarming many of Syria’s minorities including Christians, Druzes and Alawites.
Editing by Mike Collett-White