Bodies in Syria river likely killed in govt areas

2013-06-04 16:13
Syrians standing next to dead bodies that have been pulled from the river near Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, Syria. (Aleppo Media Center AMC/ AP)

Syrians standing next to dead bodies that have been pulled from the river near Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, Syria. (Aleppo Media Center AMC/ AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - The bodies of 147 men pulled out of a river in Aleppo between January and March were "probably" executed in government-controlled areas of Syria's main northern city, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

HRW said it had visited the war-torn city and interviewed the residents and activists who found the bodies, a forensics expert and 18 of the bereaved families.

The New York-based watchdog also reviewed 350 photographs and videos of the victims as part of their investigation.

"Many of the victims bore signs of having been detained and then executed, such as hands tied behind their back, gunshot wounds to their head, and tape across their mouth," the report said.

HRW said that, although it has yet to finish its investigation into who carried out the killings, the location the bodies were found in and the victims' last reported whereabouts suggested they were killed in government-controlled areas.

"The bodies floating down Aleppo's river tell a grisly tale," HRW researcher Ole Solvang said.

Scene of intense fighting

"It's hard to see how 147 people could have been executed and their bodies flung in the river in government-controlled territory, as the evidence indicates, without the knowledge of government forces operating in the area," he added.

Activists in the area told HRW researchers that they had fished 230 bodies out of the river between 29 January and 14 March, but the rights group itself was able to identify 147 victims, all male and aged between 11 and 64.

Aleppo has been the scene of intense fighting since rebels seized a swathe of districts in July last year.

The river, which runs from north to south, crosses the battle lines that divide the government-controlled northwest from the rebel-held southeast.

In January, after the first bodies were found, the official SANA news agency reported that the foreign ministry had written to the UN accusing al-Qaeda loyalists of the al-Nusra Front of carrying out the killings.

HRW said the report gave no other explanation for the allegation than that the bodies were recovered in rebel-controlled areas.

"These executions underline the urgent need for objective and impartial investigations," Solvang said.

"The UN Security Council should refer Syria to the International Criminal Court and demand that the Syrian government provides the UN Commission of Inquiry access to the country."

Read more on:    human rights watch  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The full moon is in your sign emphasising your fast and innovative mind. Your nervous system may take strain if you are juggling...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.