UK & World News
Syrian Rebels 'Execute' Government Soldiers
Syrian rebels are suspected of murdering a group of captured government soldiers undermining a strategic victory which gave them control of the main highway between Aleppo and Damascus.
An unverified video of the killings, believed to have been in Saraqib, shows a group of about 20 armed men wearing rebel head bands standing over at least eight captured soldiers.
One of the soldiers pleads with the militia insisting that he did not shoot anyway.
A rebel can be overheard saying "gather them together for me".
Young men, many of them already wounded, are flung into a pile and then riddled with bullets.
The executions are a reminder of a similar atrocity in Aleppo in August when a group of rebels murdered local people they accused of being members of Assad's Shabiha (ghosts) militia.
The capture of Saraqib is a significant strategic gain for the rebels. It controls the road to Damascus, and cuts the government forces main supply route to its Aleppo line.
It also severs the regime's links to Latakia, the main coastal city in the heartland of Assad's brethren in the Alawite community.
Rebel successes in the past have come from the valuable contribution of former regime soldiers who have changed sides, bringing their tactical skills with them.
But recently deserters have been reluctant to contact revolutionary fighters for fear of summary execution. Last week a group of about 20 government soldiers gave themselves up in Turkey claiming asylum and saying they would not have surrendered to rebel forces for fear of retribution.
Amnesty International's Ann Harrison, the deputy Middle East and North Africa director, said that the footage appeared to show "a potential war crime in progress".
She said that the human rights group would continue to investigate the alleged atrocity.
The government is accused of widespread war crimes including the murder of civilians who have been found with their hands tied close to the government held air force headquarters in Aleppo.
The rebel gains, which are reported to include a 25km radius around Saraqib, have come at a time when the exiled Syrian national Council and other groups are facing international criticism for their apparent failure to unite.
Two days ahead of key talks among the opposition in Qatar, the Syrian National Council lashed out at US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement that it was not fully representative of the country's diverse dissident forces.
"Any discussions aimed at passing over the Syrian National Council or at creating new bodies to replace it are an attempt to undermine the Syrian revolution by sowing the seeds of division," the SNC said in a statement.
Clinton said the SNC was not representative of on-the-ground opposition forces and that it "can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition".
It is likely that Washington will be pushing for an overhaul of the opposition at a meeting in Qatar this weekend. But US influence will depend on Qatari support.
Washington contributes a pittance, and only in the form of non-lethal aid, to rebels who receive hundreds of millions of pounds in support from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, much of it donated by individuals.
what do you think?
Better the devil you know. keep assad
Democracy at least gives a hope for someone better to emerge over the longer term with more accountability in line with people's needs and wishes.
I think Islamic extremism is more likely.
I think that's what will happen in a lot of these countries extremist will take over and we helped them
Extremism is a risk but look at Egypt- a democratic mandate has forced those we might have labelled as extremists to follow a more moderate path. Better some hope than none.
Egypt is on high alert of a attack against westerners at the moment is that what it meant
Western media is still portraying these barbaric jihadists as freedom fighters, the brutal murder of innocent post office workers thrown to their deaths from a high rise building to the cheers of more "rebels" on the ground, showed them for what they are. Google Syrian Post Office massacre and see for yourself what William Hagues friends are getting up to.
exactly. and these are the ppl that our govt are backing.
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