The parents of a 14-year-old boy who was killed by Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists in Syria’s Aleppo after being accused of heresy were heartbroken over their son’s death and said they had resorted to the opposition Free Syrian Army to help them find the killers.

Mohammad’s parents said they could not understand why their son was killed and not just punished.

“They [Islamists] said he is a kafir (infidel)… he is only 14, let them whip him but not kill him,” Mohammad Qattam’s father told Al Arabiya on Monday.

“Whip him twice, 10 times, 500 times or 1000 whips, and bring him back to us [dead],” his mother said, adding that they have resorted to the opposition Free Syrian Army to help them track down their son’s killers.

According to Mohammad’s father, his son – who is a coffee vendor – was in the Shaar neighborhood when a “friend” approached his cart asking to be lent more money.

“My son told him that ‘even if Prophet Mohammad comes [to us], I won’t give you any more money’,” the father said, adding that three radical Islamists heard Mohammad’s reference to the Muslim prophet and “decided” it was heresy. “The men were driving a black car and kidnapped my son.”

Shots in the air

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Mohammad was whipped and then shot in the face and neck a day after he was abducted.

The kidnappers, who belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a militant group that started off known as the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, took Mohammad on Saturday and brought him back alive in the early hours of Sunday to his wooden stand, with whiplash marks visible on his body, Reuters reported the pro-opposition monitoring group as saying.

Mohammad’s mother rushed to the Shaar neighborhood once she was told her son was returned to the area to find her son alive. However, the gunmen then killed Mohammad right before her eyes.

She said the gunmen spoke in classical Arabic and told the people in the neighborhood: “Whoever insults the prophet shall be killed.”

Head of the Observatory Rami Abdulrahman said the boy’s mother pleaded with the gunmen, whose Arabic suggested they might not be Syrian, not to shoot her son.

After leaving his corpse on the ground, “they didn’t even care but ran over his right hand when they got into the car,” she said. “Everyone was there watching, but no one wanted to come close or intervene.”

“We don’t support those or others [opposition or regime], leave us alone. They killed my 14 year-old-son. What did he do?”

“I know who killed my son, even if one million years pass, I know who killed him,” the mother said.