March 6, 2013 / 6:46 PM / 5 years ago

Rebels holding U.N. team investigated for past executions

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Human Rights Watch said it was investigating the same rebel brigade that seized 20 United Nations peacekeepers on Wednesday for executing captured Syrian soldiers earlier this week.

Peter Bouckaert of the human rights monitoring group told Reuters it was investigating the involvement of the “Martyrs of Yarmouk” brigade in a videotaped execution of detained Syrian soldiers posted on the Internet on Tuesday.

One video showed rebels declaring themselves as the “Martyrs of Yarmouk” with several men in army fatigues they said were captured at a Syrian army base near the village of Jamla. Another video showed 10 dead men, including those from the video that showed them alive.

Syrian rebels from the same unit announced in a video on Wednesday that they had seized a convoy of U.N. peacekeepers near the Golan Heights and said they would hold them captive until President Bashar al-Assad’s forces pull back from Jamla, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The capture was confirmed by the United Nations in New York, which said about 20 peacekeepers had been detained.

Syria’s nearly two-year-long civil war, which has killed more than 70,000 people, has been spilling over into the Golan Heights area.

Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Michael Roddy

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