HRW: Syria opposition tortures, executes captives

"Government's brutal tactics cannot justify abuses by armed opposition groups," Human Rights Watch says.

By REUTERS
March 20, 2012 12:14
2 minute read.
Smoke rises from Bab Sabaa neighborhood of Homs

Smoke rises from the Bab Sabaa neighbourhood of Homs 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

BEIRUT - Armed opposition groups in Syria have kidnapped, tortured and executed members of the security forces and supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

The rights group condemned the tactics by opposition fighters, who have long accused government troops and loyalists of carrying out similar abuses.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"The Syrian government's brutal tactics cannot justify abuses by armed opposition groups," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in an open letter to dissident groups including the official opposition body the Syrian National Council (SNC).

"Opposition leaders should make it clear to their followers that they must not torture, kidnap or execute under any circumstances," she added.

Syria's armed opposition is highly fragmented and many militias do not appear to belong to an organized command structure or to be following SNC orders.

The year-long uprising in Syria, in which the United Nations says more than 8,000 people have been killed, started as a peaceful protest movement. But it has become increasingly violent with daily clashes between rebels and security forces around the country.

Videotaped confessions, sectarian tensions

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


HRW cited dozens of YouTube videos in which Syrian security forces or their alleged supporters confessed to crimes, apparently under duress. At least 18 of the videos showed detainees who were bruised, bleeding, or suffering from other signs of physical abuse, the groups added.

One video showed a man hanging from a tree by his neck in front of several armed fighters with commentary indicating that he was a member of the Shabbiha, feared irregular forces loyal to Assad.

HRW said some of the attacks appeared to have targeted Shi'ite Muslims or members of Assad's own Alawite sect.

Click for full JPost coverage

Analysts warn the uprising could degenerate into civil war, pitting Alawites against Sunni Muslims, who make up 75 percent of the 23-million population.

That it turn would add to strains along the Middle East's sectarian divide, with Assad's backer Iran, and Tehran's Shi'ite allies in Lebanon and Iraq, against the Sunni powers which dominate Arab governments from Egypt to the Gulf.

HRW's Whitson said: "[The Syrian Opposition] need to make it clear that they envision a Syria that turns the page on Assad-era violations and welcomes all - regardless of their religious group or background - without discrimination."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The aftermath of an Iranian ballistic missile strike on the Koya headquarters of the KDP-I Iranian o
November 15, 2018
Senior IRGC commander: Israeli agent killed in September strikes on Kurds

By ANNA AHRONHEIM