Syrian Rebels Guilty of Kidnapping, Torture, And Executions – Human Rights Watch

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Human Rights Watch finds Syria Rebels have committed gross human rights abuses, including kidnappings, torture, and executions of both civilians and government forces.

Humans Rights Watch has issued a report outlining a series of grave human rights offenses being committed by the Syria rebels and flies directly in the face of reports from western human rights groups

The findings come in an open letter and directly dispute reports that the UN has been quoting from Syria Human Rights Observatory which is funded by the UK government.

The report finally acknowledges what myself and other members of the alternative media have been reporting for months and has changed the way that some media organizations are portraying the violence in Syria.

The Los Angeles time now refers to the casualties as civilians and anti-government combatants which previously were only referred to as “innocent civilians”.

The Human Rights Watch report also confirms allegations that rebels have been abducting innocent citizens, killing them, and then showing their bodies on YouTube to help fuel western support for the war.

Additionally, the report reveals that the terrorist rebel groups have been conducting systematic kidnappings for ransom, acts carried out solely based upon sectarian religious beliefs and not political ideologies, such as supporting the Assad government.

The LA Times reports:

Syria rebels committed serious abuses, Human Rights Watch says
Human Rights Watch alleges Syrian opposition fighters have carried out kidnappings and torture, and reportedly executions, in contrast to their freedom fighter image.

Syria’s armed rebels have committed “serious human rights abuses,” including kidnappings and torture, and reportedly executions, of security personnel and civilians, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

The group painted a dark picture that is in stark contrast to the “freedom fighter” image that the rebels and their political allies outside Syria have sought to project to the world.

In an open letter to the opposition, Human Rights Watch depicts a decentralized, disparate guerrilla structure in which armed groups seem to operate with complete autonomy, sometimes acting on sectarian motives to kidnap and kill security force members and civilians considered pro-government.

The allegations come as the United States and other nations that have voiced support for the Syrian opposition contemplate additional actions to support the resistance, including the possibility of arming the rebels seeking to topple the government of President Bashar Assad. But U.S. and other officials have also expressed reservations about the possibility that Islamic militants, including Al Qaeda, may be part of Syria’s insurgency.

[…]In its latest report, the group includes statements from witnesses suggesting that some insurgent atrocities may stem from animosity against minority sects, notably Shiite Muslims and members of the offshoot Alawite sect. Assad and many high-ranking members of the security services are Alawites.

One Syrian activist, identified only as Mazen, told Human Rights Watch that members of one armed faction known as the Abu Issa group had kidnapped pro-government residents in northern Idlib province and tortured three of them to death.

In another incident in the strife-torn Idlib region, a witness identified as Samih described a kidnapping-for-ransom scheme run by another group, the Al Nur battalion. The witness identified the group as Salafi, a conservative Sunni Muslim movement that has in some cases been associated with militancy.

In one especially grisly episode, an Alawite resident of Homs told the rights group that armed gang members entered his neighborhood on Jan. 23 and took his elderly parents from the family home. The gang leader first demanded money, but the man’s parents later were found dead, their bodies displayed in a YouTube video, the report says.

“This is a sectarian crime,” the son, identified only as Marwan, told Human Rights Watch. “My father has nothing to do with the government.”

Human Rights Watch said it had reviewed at least 25 videos on YouTube in which Syrian security forces or their alleged supporters confess to crimes “under duress.” In at least 18 cases, “these videos show detainees who are bruised, bleeding or show other signs of physical abuse.”

Human Rights Watch called on Syrian opposition groups to condemn atrocities by antigovernment forces.

[…]

Source: LA Times

Russia Today reports:

Human Rights Watch: Syrian rebels guilty of ‘gross abuses’

After months of deadlock, the UN Security Council has adopted a non-binding statement on Syria. The move endorses special envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan, calling on both sides to agree to a ceasefire and to secure humanitarian access to the country.

­However, the US is still backing the opposition despite human rights groups saying there is evidence the rebels are guilty of “gross abuses”.

In their public letter Human Rights Watch have reinforced the position that Moscow has been holding since the middle of 2011; namely that there are elements within the Syrian opposition who are not peaceful at all. According to the organization, they are guilty of such human rights abuses as detention, intimidation and torture all committed not only against the security forces but to those Syrian people who support the government.

Human Rights Watch say they have reviewed at least 25 videos on YouTube, where members of Syrian security forces are allegedly confessing – apparently under duress – to crimes they had committed.

In addition to this, they had video footage showing the opposition executing people in its custody. The group is calling on the opposition in Syria to forbid its members from doing this. However, this raises the question of who exactly is in charge of the country’s opposition. On top of that, it is believed that Al-Qaeda is operating in the country against President Bashar Assad.

On the one hand, Washington and its Western allies recognize the Syrian National Council. On the other, there are numerous elements who do not belong to this body. They are acting of their own accord, with no organized command structure, and they are commonly characterized by anti-Shia sentiments.

With all this in mind, the calls from the West for President Bashar Assad to step down appear to be unclear in terms of who or what will replace the Syrian regime.

US-based journalist and author Susan Lindauer believes that the United States, far from helping to resolve the Syria crisis, is actually fueling it by training the armed opposition.

“One of the reasons the violence has continued is that the United States is covertly financing the opposition to Bashar Assad’s government,” she told RT. “The United States is providing tactical assistance for training military operations. It’s being done outside of the country, just across the border.”

Lindauer added that as long as Washington continues to feed this conflict, it will go on.

“What’s good for Bashar Assad is also good for Hillary Clinton. The United States must announce that it will stop supporting the rebels in Syria,” she said.

Categories: MIDDLE EAST

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