In a disturbing new trend, Islamic State militants have reportedly been posing as homosexuals to lure unsuspecting men into revealing their sexual identity, before arresting them and eventually stoning them to death.
On Sunday, the extremist group released images on ISIS-linked social media accounts which showed two gay men, allegedly ages 24 and 29, being hugged by ISIS militants before being stoned in the Syrian province of Homs.
According to Syrian group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, the images are clear evidence that the militant group has begun to trick unsuspecting men into revealing their sexuality.
According to the Daily Beast, the practice of luring gay men into revealing their homosexuality by having a straight man pose as gay and set up dates to coax them into being arrested and executed was a common tactic used by the Syrian government was only recently employed by ISIS.
"Homosexuality is anathema to the group and in recent weeks the jihadists have been seeking to entrap gays in sting operations," a report from March indicated. "Undercover jihadists have posed as gays themselves to catch homosexuals. Some gays have been ransomed."
Abu Mohammed Hussam, an activist with RBSS, said the apparent embrace seen in the recent images was used by militants to demonstrate that by killing the men, they are paving the way for God to forgive them for their 'sins'.
"ISIS has never forgiven one person," he said, the Independent reports. "They kill people and then say when God will forgive. They hug the men to show the people who are watching that ISIS is not at fault.
ISIS, a radical Sunni group, hold to a particularly stringent brand of Shariah law that strictly forbids sexual immorality such as homosexuality and adultery. According to a document published by the group earlier in April, homosexual acts are to be punished with "death for the penetrator and receiver." Other "sins" requiring automatic execution include immodesty, blasphemy and consorting with the enemy
This is the second stoning report to come from Homs in April. Last week, reports emerged revealing that a blindfolded gay man was made to run across the field as the fighters hurled stones at him.
Earlier in December, ISIS released pictures showing eight ISIS militants throwing a gay man off the top of a three-story apartment complex in Wilayat al-Furat.
Then, in January, the terrorist group released photos showing militants forcing two gay men to the top of a tower in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The two men were then pushed over the ledge and fell hundreds of feet to their death.
In February, further images emerged showing the group throwing another gay man off of a tall, uncompleted building in Raqqa, Syria. Although the man survived his fall, a crowd gathered around him to stone him to death.
On Tuesday, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights released a statement urging the United Nations Security Council to respond to the continued killings of innocent people living in Syria.
"We continue in our calls to the U.N. Security Council for urgent action to stop the ongoing murder against the sons of the Syrian people despite the deafness of members to the screams of pain of the Syrian people," it said in a statement.