• Reports Claim ISIS’ Caliph Banned Gory Beheading Videos

    Sources inside Syria allege that Islamic State’s top leader has banned propaganda videos from showing bloody executions, on grounds of poor taste.

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly sent the instructions to the group’s media offices last week. According to Syria’s ANA News, which originally reported the story, ISIS’ self-described caliph cited “the general feelings of Muslims, who may regard the scenes as disgusting and scary to children.”

    ISIS’ unflinching use of violent imagery has become nearly synonymous with the group. A recent video showed a young boy, one of its “cubs of the caliphate,” beheading a Syrian soldier in the city of Palmyra. But the video did not show the moment of decapitation itself, only depicting the moments just before and after. (RELATED: ISIS’ New Shock Video Shows Just How Desperate They Are)

    If the report is true, it represents a significant change in media policy for the group. Its most infamous videos depicted the brutal killing of hostages in attempts to extract concessions from the U.S. and its allies. The group may have realized that a policy of intimidation has limited effects, and instead chosen to focus on positive propaganda for recruitment.

    Over the course of the past week, the report has made its way to Russia Today, the Christian Science Monitor and the daily Middle East newsletter of Foreign Policy magazine. But the story is not apparent in any other Arabic-language news outlets.

    And online social media accounts and news outlets associated with Islamic State are still posting footage of hand amputations and other atrocities — as well as the omnipresent photographs of mutilated children, who the group says died in counterattacks by Syria and Iraq’s governments.

    NOW CHECK OUT: Explained In Two Minutes: The Insane Rise Of ISIS [VIDEO]

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