The Washington Post
November 1, 2012
Syrian rebels executed at least a half-dozen unarmed government soldiers Thursday after attacks on checkpoints near the town of Saraqeb in northwest Syria.
At least 28 soldiers and five opposition fighters were killed in the rebel operation, which targeted checkpoints on roads connecting Saraqeb to Aleppo and Ariha, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The execution of the soldiers, which was documented in a graphic video posted online Thursday, is not the first time that rebel fighters appear to have committed war crimes. U.N. representatives and human rights organizations have repeatedly criticized the Syrian opposition in recent months for carrying out summary executions and for abusing detainees.
In early August, members of a clan loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were executed by rebels, and a video of the killings was widely disseminated on the Internet. The executions prompted some commanders of the opposition Free Syrian Army to draft a code of conduct for their fighters in an attempt to curb human rights abuses. But the execution of the soldiers Thursday indicated that the code is not being observed by all rank-and-file rebel fighters.
The Syrian government also has been heavily criticized for human rights abuses by the military and shabiha militiamen.