Syria, eat your heart out... literally.

The Human Rights Watch has recently found a graphic and gruesome video of the commander of the Syrian opposition, called Independent Omar al-Farouq brigade, mutilating the corpse of a pro-government fighter and then proceeding to eat the fighter's heart.

The Human Rights Watch repeated its call to the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation caught on tape to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure accountability for all war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Nadim Houry, Middle East deputy director of Human Rights Watch, has said that a way to stop the daily horrors in Syria, like mutilations, beheadings, and executions, is to force each side to take responsibility for their appalling actions.

The laws of war, even civil wars like that seen in Syria presently, forbid mutilation of the dead. As set out by the International Committee of the Red Cross's study of customary international humanitarian law, this rule requires that "each party to the conflict must take all possible measures to prevent the dead from being despoiled." Under the Rome Statute of the ICC, "outrage upon personal dignity" is a war crime, which includes humiliating, degrading, or otherwise violating the dignity of a dead body.

Another concern here is the cannibalism supported by the video. The video featured the commander of the Independent Omar al-Farouq brigade, identified as Abu Sakkar, the dead soldier, and a voice form behind the camera. As Abu Sakkar mutilates the body by removing the dead soldier's heart and liver, the voice behind the camera comments, "God Bless you, Abu Sakkar, you look like you are drawing [carving] a heart of love on him." After Abu Sakkar finishes his gross mutilation, he is filmed putting the corpse's heart into his mouth.

Consumption of humans by other humans is highly frowned upon and also very dangerous. Often when this happens in other branches of the animal kingdom, for instance, among cows, unknowingly eating ground beef, serious illness like bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, develop and effect the rest of the food chain.

In the case of Abu Sakkar, he ate, or feigned eating, the heart of a dead soldier straight out of the soldier's chest. Abu Sakkar could have ingested much of the soldier's blood along with heart tissues. As seen in cases of mad cow disease, there is a high rate of disease transmission through cannibalism, especially if the victim already has an illness.

On this note, disease-causing agents are often blood-borne and so ingestion of blood is often fatal or causes incurable diseases like HIV/AIDS and transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that irreversibly degrades one's nervous system.

Similarly, ingestion of blood itself, even one's own blood, can be dangerous. Hemochromatosis, or a buildup of iron in the blood, from ingesting blood, can be lethal. An excess of iron in the blood causes a variety of issues like liver damage, dehydration, low blood pressure, and neurological disorders. The body simply cannot use that much iron and often leads to adverse effects.

While Abu Sakkar's acts were gruesome and inhumane, the public may begin to have sympathy for him when he develops an incurable and fatal disease after all of his human meals.