UK & World News
Syrian Rebels 'Kill Pro-Regime Militia'
Graphic new footage has emerged that it is claimed shows rebel soldiers in Syria lining up and shooting dead pro-government militia members.
The two-minute video seems to show members of the Shabiha, a militia group aligned to President Bashar al Assad's regime, being killed. They appear to be unarmed.
Sky News is unable to verify the images independently.
The person who posted the video online says it shows rebel soldiers leading members of the militia down a street in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and the scene of intense fighting between government forces and the opposition.
Meanwhile, President Assad has said the Syrian army's battle with rebel forces would determine the fate of his country.
He also praised "heroic" soldiers for confronting what he said were "criminal terrorist gangs".
"The fate of our people and our nation, past, present and future, depends on this battle," Mr Assad, who has not spoken in public for two weeks, said in a written statement marking armed forces day.
In the new video footage, some of the captives appear to have been beaten or are wounded. The men are forced to sit down by a wall as a crowd gathers. Many of the men are armed.
Another member of the crowd appears to try to prevent it being filmed.
After a minute of continuous shooting, the dead bodies of the men who had been lined up against the wall can clearly be seen.
Sky correspondent Alex Rossi, reporting from the Syria-Turkey border, said the Shabiha are "feared and reviled in equal measure".
"They are blamed for things like the Houla massacre on May 25 in which 108 people were killed, 49 of them children.
"It would be understandable why, in the heat of war, they may be killed in this way. Certainly the Geneva convention doesn't hold much sway in this conflict.
"I suppose this just illustrates just how tense this is and the levels of violence that are being perpetrated on both sides, if of course this video does turn out to be what it is claimed to be."
Government forces have been trying to seize back large areas of Aleppo, Syria's commercial hub, which have been under the control of the Free Syrian Army for several days.
Combat aircraft and artillery pounded the city late into Tuesday night after the rebels claimed troops loyal to the regime had been forced to retreat.
The rebels have said they now control an arc that covers eastern and south western districts, including Salaheddine which the regime said it had recaptured on Monday.
"The regime has tried for three days to regain Saleheddine, but its attempts have failed and it has suffered heavy losses in human life, weapons and tanks, and it has been forced to withdraw," Colonel Abdel Jabbar al Oqaidi, head of the Joint Military Council, one of several rebel groups in Aleppo, told Reuters.
Oqaidi said more than 3,000 rebel fighters were in Aleppo but would not give a precise number.