A seven-month-old boy was decapitated by a Syrian army officer who cracked down on people suspected of sheltering rebels after a group of soldiers stormed into a house, reports say.
According to a soldier from the Syrian army’s 11th Armoured Division, his commanding officer snatched the child from the living room when they found the man they were looking for was out.
The officer then apparently laid the child on the floor, pulled out his army knife and decapitated the little boy in front of his horrified mother.
According to The Sunday Times, the officer then hung the child’s head above the front door and screamed that he would do the same to another child unless the man gave up.
The incident allegedly took place last week in the north-west town of Jisr al-Shughur during a heavy security operation.
Mohammed, a 22-year-old soldier, told The Sunday Times: “That was when I decided to defect. I’ll have to live with that memory for ever.
“We did things I never want to remember.”
There is mounting evidence that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have been deliberately targeting children in a bid to crush unrest.
The UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also said there are concerns of war crimes and torture being carried out on children.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday that the “old order” of one-man rule and family dynasties was over in the Middle East.
Ban Ki-moon urged President Bashar al-Assad to halt the bloodshed and said revolutions during the Arab Spring showed that people would no longer accept tyranny.
An estimated 5,000 people have been killed during the brutal crackdown on 10 months of unrest, with an estimated 400 dead in the last three weeks alone.