Amnesty warns on Syria executions

2012-07-25 20:18
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Beirut - Amnesty International warned on Wednesday about disturbing reports of "summary executions" by Syrian troops and rebels, calling them "serious violations of international law".

In a statement, the rights watchdog cited reports from media and local activists on instances in which both Syrian government troops and rebel forces have carried out summary killings.

"Amnesty International has been documenting unlawful killings carried out by state forces and government militias in Syria for months," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty's deputy Middle East and North Africa programme director.

She said field research conducted by the organisation in northern Syria found evidence that "scores of men and boys" were "being summarily killed by government forces and shabiha [pro-regime] militia members".

"We have also been investigating reports that members of armed opposition groups have been responsible for the killings of captured members of the security forces and other unlawful killings," she said.

Leadership duty

"The leadership of all sides must make it clear that they will not tolerate such abuses by anyone under their command."

The statement pointed to reports that at least 19 unarmed men and one child were found killed in the Mazzeh neighbourhood of Damascus, apparently after being executed.

And it cited statements by Iraq's deputy interior minister to AFP, in which he said Iraqi troops had seen Syrian rebels execute Syrian troops after taking control of a border post between the two countries.

"If confirmed, these killings would constitute serious violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes," Amnesty said.

Syria's uprising, which began 16 months ago, has become increasingly violent as the regime seeks to put down rebels who have taken up arms in a bid to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, over 19 000 people have been killed since the uprising began.

Read more on:    amnesty international  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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