Syrian rebel execution could be ‘war crime’

Human rights groups protest shocking video

 

Syrian insurgents’ execution of several members of a prominent Aleppo family with close ties to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, captured on video and circulated widely, appeared to constitute a war crime, according to human rights activists.

 

While the details remained murky, the killings appeared to stem from the pitched battles that have raged for days in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria and the country’s commercial hub. Rebels accused members of the Barri family, a large Sunni clan well known for suppressing opposition to Mr. Assad, of killing 15 antigovernment fighters after initially pledging to let them pass through an area the Barri family controlled.

 

The videos

 

Video posted by antigovernment activists showed more than a dozen men, some with bloodied faces and torn clothing, who are said to be members or associates of the clan. Held in what appeared to be a room at a school, they were made to state their names and accused of being pro-government militiamen known as shabiha. The man sitting in the center, described as a leader of the group, said his name was Ali Zein El AbidinBarri, also known as Zeino.

 

Another video, posted to YouTube on Tuesday, appeared to show several of the men, including an older man bleeding from his face and wearing only black underwear, being led by rebels with assault rifles onto an Aleppo street, where a crowd had formed.

 

“The Free Syrian Army forever,” the crowd chanted. “Stepping on Assad’s head.”

 

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