The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has reportedly beheaded over 20 of its fighters in full public view for trying to flee a war zone in Iraq's Mosul city, sending out a chilling warning to others in the terror group against desertion.
The ISIS captured a group of its own militants who tried to escape the battlefront in Mosul city of Nineveh province, and executed them in public, Ara News reported.
"The dissidents were arrested at a checkpoint in the vicinity of Mosul on Friday evening. After being identified as fighters who have left their positions at the fighting front in western Mosul, they were transferred to the Sharia Court for prosecution," a local source cited an ISIS "official" as saying.
"Subsequent to a brief interrogation, the Sharia Court decided to behead the dissidents on charges of treason," the source was quoted as saying.
Observers said the beheadings were made in a bid to terrorise ISIS members who may leave their posts in the war-torn region.
The jihadis were beheaded in central Mosul in front of hundreds of people, mostly ISIS members and commanders, the report said.
"Witnessing the brutal punishment has caused a state of panic among the members of the group," the source said.
ISIS considers jihadis who leave their posts without permission as traitors and enemies of its so-called Caliphate.
This is not the first time that ISIS has executed its own militants on charges of treason.
Earlier, it was reported this month that ISIS militants who lost a key town to Iraqi forces were burned alive in full public view by their own men after they fled to the group's stronghold of Mosul.
Several Mosul residents claimed that when the black clad jihadists made it to Mosul, over 400 km north of Ramadi city retaken by Iraqi forces, they were set on fire in the town's main square. They were reportedly made to stand in a circle and set on fire.
In December, the extremist group had beheaded ten militant fighters "convicted of high treason" for evacuating their post at the battlefront without the group's permission.
In November, ISIS executed 73 militant fighters for escaping battles with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Shingal (Sinjar) district in northern Iraq, the report said.
ARA News is an independent press agency reporting on local developments across Rojava, Kurdistan Region, Syria, Iraq and Turkey.