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anti-war / imperialism |
Wednesday August 01, 2012 19:41 by pat c
Syrian rebels have murdered prisoners. While the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch have condemned it. So far the US haven't mentioned it.
Human Rights Watch has told the BBC the act was potentially a war crime. “What it looks like is execution of detainees and if that is the case, that would be a war crime”: Clive Baldwin, Senior legal adviser for Human Rights Watch. HRW, he added, had been seeing evidence of abuses such as torture and executions by rebel elements "for some time".
The head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which documents violence by all sides in the conflict, condemned the killings by the rebels as "criminal".
The UN mission in Syria reports that the rebels in Aleppo are now armed with some heavy weapons including tanks and says that helicopters, heavy machine guns and artillery are also being used in the fighting. "We are calling on all parties to exercise utmost restraint... to distinguish between civilians and [combatants] in this conflict," said spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh.
In a video which appeared on YouTube, gunmen can be seen leading a number of men in their underwear, some of them bruised or bloodied, into the yard, which is crowded with men shouting religious slogans. Chants include, "The Free Syrian Army forever, we'll trample on the head of Assad". After the half-naked men are put up against a wall, the camera moves back behind the crowd, losing sight of them. Heavy gunfire from Kalashnikov assault rifles erupts, after which the camera shows a pile of bodies by the wall.
The leader of Iraq's most influential Sunni tribe, Sheikh Ali Hatem Sleiman al-Duleimi, has meanwhile confirmed that members of the tribe are continuing to cross from Iraq's Anbar province into Syria. "They don't need to seek permission, economically, spiritually or financially," he said. "They are going as brothers, as humanitarians and as people lending military help." Duleimi said security in Anbar province, which borders Syria's eastern desert, was now worse than at any time since US troops battled Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida-aligned groups there from 2004 to 2007.
Jim Muir, BBC News, Beirut reports: There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the troubling video footage from Aleppo, purporting to show alleged members of the hated pro-regime shabiha militia being lynched after capture. Other videos - all filmed by rebels or activists - showed many bodies strewn around a captured police station. Not all of them looked like combat deaths.
There have also been past allegations of abuses by the rebel side, but rarely have they been so clearly documented. Clearly, neither side has a monopoly of righteousness, nor of abuse.
Caption: Several men of the Pro-Government al-Berri Tribe are lined up and shot dead by insurgents as they shout