Syria rebels condemn reported executions

2012-08-03 19:05
(AP)

(AP)

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Beirut - The rebel Free Syrian Army on Friday condemned and rejected responsibility for the execution of regime loyalists in the northern city of Aleppo after a video emerged of the reported killings.

"We strongly condemn this kind of irresponsible behaviour and call on all revolutionary forces and the fighters on the ground to condemn such acts," the FSA's joint command said in a statement.

The rebel leadership insisted the killings were "unacceptable, isolated and illegal" and that the FSA had no links to those who carried them out.

"These reprehensible acts do not conform with the ethics of the FSA or the Syrian revolution.

"We respect international laws and conventions, notably the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners," said the statement, which also called for an investigation.

Amnesty International on Friday said an investigation by the FSA "into the alleged unlawful killings of 14 members of the Al-Berri clan should be referred to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

Violation

"The Inquiry is responsible for monitoring, documenting and reporting such incidents to the Human Rights Council.

This would be instrumental for possible prosecution when and if the situation in Syria is referred to the International Criminal Court," it added.

"Killing captives is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime. The FSA leadership have a duty to end such violations immediately," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa head.

Amateur video posted on YouTube by activists apparently showed FSA fighters executing regime loyalists from the Al-Berri tribe on Tuesday in Aleppo, which the two sides have been battling for control of since 20 July.

The gunmen chanted "The FSA forever!" as they led members of the tribe into a square.

The face of one of the captives was covered in blood, and he had been stripped almost naked, as rebels gathered around him and stood him against a wall.

Other captives were lined up next to him, as the rebels chanted "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest).

Revenge

They opened a torrent of fire on their captives, identified as members of a tribe that entered the fighting on Tuesday in Aleppo on the side of the regime. The Al-Berri clan is Sunni Muslim while the Assad regime is dominated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.

"The Al-Berri tribe are loyalists to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"But under no law - international law or Islamic law - should anyone execute a prisoner. This is criminal. This is revenge."

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

Read more on:    syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
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