Moral Outrage
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Syrian rebels’ serious human rights abuses

Armed rebels fighting the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad have committed “serious human rights abuses,” an influential human rights watchdog said today.

In an open letter to leaders of the opposition, Human Rights Watch cites “increasing evidence” of kidnappings, torture and executions and calls on those forces “to refrain from engaging in these unlawful practices.”

The United Nations, Syrian activists and groups such as Human Rights Watch have documented widespread violations by Syrian government forces, including the rampant use of torture, arbitrary detentions and indiscriminate shelling of neighborhoods.

But abuses by anti-government forces also have been documented during the crisis.

“We have no time to waste, no time to lose,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday in a news conference in Indonesia. “The situation has reached unacceptable, intolerable situation now. … I sincerely hope that the international community will continually speak in one voice and particularly the Security Council, I hope, will be able to be united so they can speak in one voice.”

CNN

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One Response to “Syrian rebels’ serious human rights abuses”

  1. On the subject, an L.A. Times article adds:

    Human Rights Watch painted a dark picture that is in stark contrast to the “freedom fighter” image that Syrian rebels and their political allies have sought to project to the world.

    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.

    Human Rights Watch’s report, critical of the insurgents, follows cases in which the group has documented widespread violations by Syrian security forces, including disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions and indiscriminate shelling of neighborhoods. Included are 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. BTW, Alawites are reported to celebrate certain Christian festivals including Christmas, Easter, and Palm Sunday, and their religious ceremonies also make use of bread and wine.]

    One Syrian activist 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 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.


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