BEIRUT

Middle East

Jihadist Al-Nusra Front executes three Syria soldiers: activists

Syrian government forces walk through the destruction in the old souk of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on January 3, 2013, after they allegedly recaptured the area from opposition forces. AFP PHOTO /STR

BEIRUT: Rebels from the jihadist Al-Nusra Front executed three captured soldiers in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday.

"Al-Nusra Front executed three regime troops who were captured on January 5 from the technical services building in Deir Ezzor city," the activists said, adding that it was not clear when, exactly, the soldiers were killed.

In a video released by the hardline group and posted to YouTube by the Observatory, the three men are seated before a black flag bearing the Muslim profession of faith and surrounded by masked men holding kalashnikovs.

They give their names and hometown while the man interrogating them identifies them as Alawites, a minority offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar al-Assad and his senior officials belong.

One is accused of raping a young woman.

The video then showed the mangled bodies of the men lying in a ditch.

"The dogs of Assad have violated the women of Deir Ezzor, and this is what will happen to anyone who does such a thing," a man shouted from behind the camera.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that the men were captured on Saturday, but no date was given for their executed.

Al-Nusra, which first gained notoriety for its suicide bombings in Syria, has evolved into a formidable fighting force leading attacks on battlefronts throughout the embattled country.

Its extremist tactics and suspected affiliation to the Al-Qaeda offshoot in Iraq have landed it on the US list of terrorist organisations.

The new killings come on the heels of a UN report, which said the situation in Syria was continuing to degenerate amid a "proliferation of serious crimes including war crimes, and most probably crimes against humanity, by both sides."

 

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