Members of an American-backed rebel group in Syria beheaded a young child in a grisly execution video.
The footage surfaced early Tuesday of members of Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki and a captured child in Handarat, near Aleppo. The young boy, who appears to be prepubescent, is then executed on the back of a pickup truck.
The gruesome videotaped murder of a child drew outrage on social media and the promise of an inquiry from the group's leadership, which has previously received U.S.-made weapons and American funding. The group no longer gets such backing. But it's also renewed questions about which rebels the American government has supported in Syria's ongoing civil war.
"Even if they no longer get U.S. aid, it still shows the moral pitfalls of what we're trying to do in Syria," Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a terrorism expert and senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Daily Beast.
There are two clips from the unsavory events. One shows five militants surrounding the boy. In the second, one of them stands over him on the truck and cuts the boy's head off with a dull knife, raising it over his head.
Details conflict about which groups, exactly, comprise the "moderate" Syrian rebels funded by the U.S.-led coalition, but critics have long warned that fluid dynamics and shifting allegiances on the ground make it difficult to predict which groups will be aligned with U.S. interests.