ALEPPO, Syria—The head of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) today buckled under pressure and convened a press conference to respond to growing complaints regarding a deadly case of mistaken identity, in which ISIS accidentally beheaded one of their own.
The contrite rebel leader admitted that his group “badly fumbled the rollout,” of its three-month campaign to enroll sympathetic jihadists from across the country in an effort to “purify and heal a nation suffering under the rule of a heartless dictator.”
Stoking preexisting fears of outside powers getting between patients and their doctors, an ISIS death panel hastily determined the fate of Mohamed Fares Marroush, wounded and anesthetized in a makeshift hospital, after he was overheard muttering the names of Shiite religious figures.
A video circulating the Internet depicts ISIS rebels brandishing a knife and Marroush’s severed head, proclaiming in Arabic, “He is an Iraqi Shiite volunteer fighter in Bashar al-Assad’s army.”
While Marroush had, indeed, been a volunteer fighter, he had been fighting on the same side as the Sunni rebels that killed him—a fact that escaped the marauding contractors intent on implementing their signature strategy with maximum impact and speed.
Omar al-Qahatani, an ISIS spokesman, called “on God to accept [Marroush] into his Kingdom and to forgive his brothers that sought to rid us of the enemies of God and our enemies.”
“I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Syrian rebels,” explained al-Qahatani. “We do a lot of things really well. One of those things we do not do well is pre-screening candidates for beheading. We were clearly over our heads engaging in this complex process.”
He also asked for “restraint and piety” from anti-government supporters as ISIS works to correct the glitches in its enrollment process by the end November.
“If you like your head and are a true believer in the anti-government cause,” the spokesman confirmed, “you will be able to keep it.”