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07 July, 2016

Amnesty reported war crimes by Syrian rebels backed by the US and allies

War Crimes

_ A 35 page report, “Abductions, Torture and Summary Killings Under Armed Group Rule in Aleppo and Idleb, Syria” by Amnesty International was released on July 5, 2016. A news article about the report was issued at the same time: “Syria: Abductions, torture and summary killings at the hands of armed groups.” Amnesty notes that these groups are backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the United States.

The briefing features abuses committed by five armed groups which have exercised control over parts of the governorates of Aleppo and Idleb since 2012. They include the Nour al-Dine Zinki Movement, al-Shamia Front and Division 16 [Free Syrian Army], which joined the Aleppo Conquest coalition of armed groups (also known as Fatah Halab) in 2015. They also include Jabhat al-Nusra and the Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement in Idleb, which both joined the Army of Conquest coalition, similarly in 2015.”

_ 24 cases of abduction, five cases of torture are documented in this briefing. Torture was used for forced confessions in Sharia “law courts established by the Syrian “rebels”. Humanitarian aid workers, peaceful activists, minorities and children were targeted. Numerous first-hand accounts from individuals are documented.

_ “Bassel”, a lawyer in Idlib said he was happy to be free from the “Syrian government’s unjust rule, but now the situation is worse” under al Nusra.

“’I was happy to be free from the Syrian government’s unjust rule but now the situation is worse. I publicly criticized Jabhat al-Nusra on Facebook… The next morning Jabhat al-Nusra forces took me from my home,’ he said.”

_ Philip Luther, director of Amnesty’s programme in the Middle East and North Africa said that the US and Russia must prioritize the detention by Syrian government forces and abduction by the Syrian rebel groups in the Geneva talks and calls on the UN Security Council to use targeted sanctions on the “leaders of armed groups who are responsible for war crimes.”

Philip Luther: “While some civilians in areas controlled by armed opposition groups may at first have welcomed an escape from brutal Syrian government rule, hopes that these armed groups would respect rights have faded as they have increasingly taken the law into their own hands and committed serious abuses.”


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