raqqa hand chopped off
Images showed the man's hand being amputated with a meat cleaver and metal bar

Islamic State (Isis) religious police have reportedly chopped off the hand of an alleged thief in Raqqa, Syria. A propaganda photo report published online showed a man's arm being amputated in the north-eastern city that has become the de-facto capital for IS (Daesh).

Activists said that a statement read out by the IS-led Sharia Court prior to the amputation on 31 July recommended action against any citizen charged with theft. Two IS militants carried out the punishment in front of dozens of people in a public square inside the city.

The punishment was meted out by armed militants in front of huge crowds. A balaclava-wearing jihadist struck a cleaver with a metal bar positioned on the man's wrist.

The blindfolded man was then bandaged by another militant. The punishment has previously been used in IS-held cities in Iraq, including Fallujah, which has since been freed from the terrorist group's grip.

"The man's right hand was amputated after the Isis-linked al-Hisba police accused him of stealing, but they didn't explain what this young man has exactly stolen," an unidentified media activist told ARA News in Raqqa.

IS has been losing ground in Syria and Iraq in the past six months. On 24 May, the 30,000-strong US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began approaching the city from the countryside to the north.

In July IS beheaded five alleged spies in front of their families after they were accused of spying for Kurdish forces. They were found guilty of passing information to the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) by their internal Sharia Court of Raqqa and sentenced to public death.