‘Mass executions of men’ in Syria

Syrian forces are carrying out mass arrests and summary executions in Baba Amr, the former rebel stronghold in the city of Homs, according to a growing body of evidence.

The accounts of atrocities coincide with the regime’s continued refusal to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to enter Baba Amr, which was captured by the army last week.

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has broken an earlier assurance that the ICRC would be allowed in, suggesting that his army is trying to cover up the aftermath of the fighting.

A resident of Homs calling himself Abu Abdo said his 17-year-old cousin was caught up in a bloody reprisal attack in Baba Amr carried out by government troops and militiamen from Mr Assad’s Alawite sect.

“They laid the men on the ground. Their hands were tied behind their backs, and their faces pressed to the floor,” said Mr Abdo. “The soldiers began jumping and dancing across the bodies of the alive men, and hitting them on their backs with their rifle butts.”

After tormenting their captives, the soldiers and militiamen began executing them.

“They used bayonets on the ends of their guns to stab the men in the back. One grabbed a prisoner by the hair and slit his throat,” said Mr Abdo.

Four of the men were killed in this way. But the brutality became too much for one of the militiamen.

“He grabbed the shoulder of the others, and told them to stop,” said Mr Abdo. The men retreated and Mr Abdo’s cousin was able to escape.

A Syrian woman told the BBC that security forces slit the throat of her 12-year-old son last Friday after the rebels had retreated from Baba Amr. She claimed 35 other men and boys had been detained and killed in the same attack.

These accounts cannot be independently verified. Since its capture last week after 26 days of bombardment, Baba Amr has been sealed off.

While keeping aid workers out of the most sensitive areas, the Syrian regime bowed to pressure yesterday and said that Valerie Amos, the United Nations under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, would be allowed to visit Damascus tomorrow.

Source: Independent. Ie

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