Syrian rebels kill dozens in offensives in north and south

BEIRUT Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:00am EDT

1 of 5. A Free Syrian Army fighter uses a walkie-talkie to talk with a fellow fighter as he watches a surveillance monitor in Deir al-Zor July 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Khalil Ashawi

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian rebels say they have overrun army positions in the north and south of the country this week, including an offensive in which a rights monitoring group said 51 soldiers were executed.

Insurgents have focused on taking isolated army outposts, mostly in rural areas while forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have made gains in recent months around the capital Damascus and the central city of Homs.

One video, posted on YouTube on Wednesday by a rebel group calling itself the Supporters of the Islamic Caliphate, shows around 30 bodies of young men piled up against a wall. Blood is splattered on the wall and one corpse is smoldering.

"Tens of Assad's (militia) killed," says a man off camera. He said the footage was filmed in the area of the northern town of Khan al-Assal which was taken by rebels last week.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-Assad monitoring group, cited activists on Friday in Khan al-Assal who said that more than 150 soldiers were killed on Monday and Tuesday in and around the town.

The Observatory said that figure included 51 soldiers and officers who were executed.

Another video, posted by a rebel group in the village of Hara in the southern province of Deraa, shows several dead soldiers in a room, lying in a pool of blood with head injuries.

"These are Assad's dogs," says a voice off screen.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have died in the Syrian uprising since March 2011, which turned into an armed insurgency after the authorities used force to suppress peaceful street protests. Ancient buildings and artifacts across the major Arab state have been destroyed in the fighting.

Assad's forces have been on the offensive since last month when the army, backed by militants from the powerful Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah, recaptured a border town near Lebanon straddling supply lines between Damascus and Syria's seacoast.

Both sides are accused by rights groups of abuses, including executing enemy combatant, and the war - pitting Sunni majority rebels against Assad's own Alawite sect and Shi'ite Hezbollah - has descended into sectarian hatred.

State news agency SANA reported on Thursday that "army units have made considerable headway in the battle against the armed terrorist groups in al-Khalidiya neighborhood in Homs city."

It said the army had killed scores of "terrorists" in Homs, where whole districts have been razed by two years of conflict, with neither side ever fully taking over the city.

Assad's forces also clashed with rebels on the outskirts of the capital on Friday. A resident of Damascus said warplanes were targeting the northern Barzeh district.

"People close to Barzeh say the sonic booms and subsequent bombardment blasts have been unrelenting all day," she said.

(Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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Comments (6)
kurdstaat wrote:
“Guns are great”
Guns are great for one reason. Give them to Arabs to wipe each other out.

The Arabs themselves are not smart enough to make anything useful, They can’t build anything or invent anything, never mind making themselves weapons. But when it comes to destruction Arabs are Number one. These Sunni Arab terrorists (Saddam, FSA, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda) are experts in destroying everything from human life to property destruction. They don’t specialize in construction and innovation, instead Allah has made their brain shrink enough so that all they can do is kill, destroy and damage. Allah willing the Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs will wipe each other off from the earth.

Jul 26, 2013 8:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
COindependent wrote:
It is really our intention, as promoted by Senator McCain, to arm rebels who line up thirty captured soldiers against the wall and execute them?

These “rebels” are more moral than Assad? Again, at least Assad allowed various groups to live in (relative) piece. There will be no winner in this war, as it will go on for at least a decade (see Lebanon) as the various groups try to exterminate one another.

The U.S. is best served by not getting involved in any way other than humanitarian support to the refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan. And surely, we do not want to provide any asylum or immigration privileges to from Syria. No need to import these centuries-old issues to the U.S. Leave them where they are.

Jul 26, 2013 10:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
COindependent wrote:
Perhaps the tag line should read “Syrian rebels EXECUTE dozens”.

Jul 26, 2013 10:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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