Exposed: The War Crimes of the Syrian Rebels

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posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 08:27 AM
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Greetings my fellow ATSers,

Today I thought I might look into the war crimes committed by Syrian opposition forces after all a few months ago I wrote this same thread only looking the war crimes of the Syrian government so it only seems right that I give the rebels the same treatment in the interest of balance.

In looking into this the first thing that has struck me is that in comparison to the human rights atrocities committed by the Syrian government it is very difficult to pin down what rebel group has been responsible for the crimes that have been attributed to Syrian Rebels. The problem is that the Media and many of these human rights groups make no distinction between the different groups that make up the entirety of the Syrian Rebellion they tend to talk about “opposition forces”. This means that while it is possible to say the “Free Syrian Army” did to x y and z, this is not always the case as the FSA does not represent the entirety of the rebel movement. Take this for instance one report from Amnesty international that condemned the “rebels” for the attack on a Syrian TV station in June 2012 which never actually specified who was actually responsible for this attack just said it was “opposition forces”, when it was actually Al-Nusra (Al-QA’ida in Syira) who the FSA have no control over. If however I where to be talking about the crimes committed by the pro-Assad forces then by large most of their crimes can be attributed to one group; “the Syrian military” (or possibly the shabeeha militia ) . The absence of the distinction between these groups of the Syrian rebellion is important to keep in mind when reading this thread, please remember that the western backed FSA does represent or control the whole of the Syrian rebellion so unless I specifically mention the FSA please do not presume that by “rebels” or “opposition forces” that I mean FSA.

So let’s begin by looking at what less than angelic yet very nasty crimes there rebels have been committing in the name of freedom.

This above video is really what brought the war crimes committed by the rebels to the attention of the world, it appears to show rebel fighters executing unarmed Syrian pro-Assad fighters being executed. Officially the FSA has said they played no part in this and it is widely believed to have been committed by the Al-Qa’ida group Al-Nusra although this has never been confirmed. According to Rupert Colvile a UN human rights spokesman:



the allegations are that these were soldiers who were no longer combatants. And therefore, at this point it looks very likely that this is a war crime, another one,"

UN Human Rights

They key phrase there is “this is a war crime, another one”, what other ones, what other crimes have these Syrian rebels been committing.

Well according to Amnesty internationa.



Members of armed opposition groups have been responsible for summary executions of some captured members of the security forces and sharia militias and other unlawful killings, abductions of civilians, torture and other ill-treatment, use of children in hostilities and the reckless use and storage of arms.


This is despite assurances given by leaders of opposing groups that they will respect interracial law and uphold human rights. Yet according to the human rights watch they have confirmed over a dozen extrajudicial killings carried out by rebel forces include some killing that have been committed by the FSA, according to one FSA fighter interviewed for the Human Rights Watch



We killed the two snipers on the roof right away [after they were captured], without any trial. Everybody saw that they had been shooting at us and killing FSA fighters so there was no need for a trial. Two other people detained in the police station were accused of rape and murder. There was a month-long trial and they were also sentenced to death. The girl who was raped identified one of them. They were both shot.


In addition to the extrajudicial killings there is also significant evidence that rebel forces, notably the FSA have used torture as a means to extract confessions as the testimony of one detainee of the FSA has said



They beat me every two or three days. They tied me to a cross with my face down. Five guys started beating me, using cables. The first time they hit me for about an hour. The third time they hit me from early in the morning until noon. They also hit me in the face. The FSA fighters wanted me to confess to having killed several people with a knife. Eventually I confessed because they beat me, although I have not killed anybody. The FSA fighters said that they would kill me if I said something about the torture.


Another said that:




They beat me again on the soles of my feet, with a stick and a cable, for about 30 minutes. I was on my back, with my feet up in the air, tied. I didn’t deny the charges, but they wanted me to repeat my confession.


The Human Rights Watch also states that this video shows a Syrian Air Force Intelligence officer who has clearly been tortured being interrogated. This video was officially released by the FSA, the man in the video was later executed.

Human Rights Watch

Based on the finding of these reports Time Magazine reported that



When confronted with evidence of extrajudicial executions, three opposition leaders told HRW that those who were killed deserved to be killed, and that only the worst criminals were being executed. Furthermore, other opposition leaders said they did not consider the practice of falaqa, beating the soles of the feet, to be torture “because it did not cause injuries.”

Time

In other words according to opposition leaders it is ok to beat a man on the soles of his feet with wooden sticks because this does not cause injuries. More so they also seem to be justifying the use of extrajudicial killings saying simply that the “deserved to die”.

cont....
edit on 18-1-2013 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 08:27 AM
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Its not just the execution and torture of prisoners that have raised concerns in regards to the human rights record of these opposition groups but also mounting evidence that they are using. Again according to yet another report into the crimes committed by Syrian rebels by the Human Rights Watch children as young as 14 have been recruited into the rebel ranks.



Human Rights Watch interviewed five boys between the ages of 14 and 16 who said they had worked with the armed opposition in Homs, Daraa, and Khirbet al-Jawz, a small Idlib town near the Turkish border. Three of the boys, all age 16, said they carried weapons. One said he received military training and participated in attack missions. Two boys – ages 14 and 15 – said they, together with other boys, supported opposition brigades by conducting reconnaissance or transporting weapons and supplies. In addition, Human Rights Watch interviewed three Syrian parents who said their sons under 18 had remained in Syria to fight.

Human Rights

What is worse is this report form the UK’s Daily Mail which reports that they have found evidence that a child as young as 10 has been caught up in the fighting, a boy solider fighting for the Syrian rebels. This is despite assurances from rebel leaders that they are respecting international law by only permitting people over 18 to take part in direct hostilities.



D aily Mail

One of the main groups of civilians being targeted by rebel forces are the minority Christian community who under Assad have always been protected but now fear reprisals form the more extreme Islamist elements of the rebel movement after Assad according to the British Syrian Observatory for human Rights. There have even been some disturbing reports such as one young man who was killed thenfed to dogs by Al-Nusra just for being Christian. The exact extent of this violence towards Christians is unclear I have found little mention of this in reports by human rights groups but it is clear that it Christians are being targeted.

What is clear is that despite repeated assurances form the leadership of the Syrian rebels the men under their command are committing crimes against humanity, they are at times showing utter disrespect for human rights and the basic laws of war. There is no doubting that this is happening on both sides of this civil war in Syria however it is also clear that there are some gaps in the literature showing the extent of the crimes of the Rebels and in particular the western backed FSA.

I have no doubt that many of you have your own examples of FSA human rights crimes, so please feel free to shear
edit on 18-1-2013 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 08:28 AM
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Personal Note.

I have written this thread as I said above because I have a similar thread only looking at the crimes of Assads regime (I admit it is now dated) so please do not respond as if I am only taking one side I am not I am looking at both sides. In writing this I have done my best to used balanced and unbiased sources to the best of my ability, hence why there is no RT or Syrian state media sources. I am only interested in the facts, and as such I have done my upmost to write this thread independent of my personal views on the matter.

I am also aware that there are many cases on the internet that show individual cases of crimes committed by Rebel forces, Where possible I have endeavoured to omit these form the OP other than to illustrate a point because I am trying to convey the message that human rights abuses by Syrian rebels are widespread it’s not just one or two rebels doing this.

None the less, with that said I know that many of you may have specific examples of Syrian rebel war crimes that you may wish to add to this thread so please do so to contribute to the discussion.

Thank you again!.
edit on 18-1-2013 by OtherSideOfTheCoin because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 08:50 AM
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Its really hard to understand whats going on over there. Only yesterday there was a report on the Al-Nusra group and how out of all the opposition they seem to be the most repected of the lot. One of there leaders was interviewed and has called for anyone to prove they have committed any crimes against civilians whilst denying the accusations at the same time.. Obviuosly this is the group who are recognised as terrorists to the US and co.
He further explains that the Syrian people would accept them as the leaders simply because Syria is Islamic, same with the group. But with that, this is the group who have been accused for setting off car bombs and other attacks.

Because there are so many different roups operating in Syria, its hard to pin who is responsible for what. While one group may be doing the right thing, another group in another part of Syria might not be. With that though, the very same could be happening on the SAA side also. When it comes down to it, it is well documented that both sides are committing atrocities. While the uprising may of been a great idea 21 months ago, I think it has made the country worse and not because Assad is a great guy, because the revolution has been hijacked by certain groups who do not have the Syrian peoples best interests in mind.

S+F
edit on 18-1-2013 by DarknStormy because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 09:17 AM
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Originally posted by DarknStormy
Its really hard to understand whats going on over there.


Not really, when you look at it in its simplest form. You have an Alawite minority ruling over a majority of Sunnis through a brutal dictatorship/regime. The people of Syria had enough, protests eventually led to brutal crackdowns by the regime, the people fought back, the cycle of violence escalated to where it is now, neither side willing to compromise, both sides committing atrocities.

The real tragedy is that outside governments and other elements have inserted themselves into this conflict, and only have prolonged it, added to the escalation and violence and generally made it worse.



posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by ausername

Originally posted by DarknStormy
Its really hard to understand whats going on over there.


Not really, when you look at it in its simplest form. You have an Alawite minority ruling over a majority of Sunnis through a brutal dictatorship/regime. The people of Syria had enough, protests eventually led to brutal crackdowns by the regime, the people fought back, the cycle of violence escalated to where it is now, neither side willing to compromise, both sides committing atrocities.


I was touching upon the rebel side when I said its hard to understand whats going on, not so much the overall issue. When we speak about the rebels, who is committing the atrocities and who isn't? Can we know for sure which groups are and are not?


The real tragedy is that outside governments and other elements have inserted themselves into this conflict, and only have prolonged it, added to the escalation and violence and generally made it worse.


I agree and thats why I tend to lean towards the regime right now. Not so much that Assad is a great leader, more that what he have contrbuted has made things 10 times worse than what it already was.



posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by DarknStormy

I agree and thats why I tend to lean towards the regime right now. Not so much that Assad is a great leader, more that what he have contrbuted has made things 10 times worse than what it already was.


Then you are willing to overlook the brutal oppression, and crimes against humanity this man and his regime has perpetrated in his desperate efforts to cling to power in Syria?

In this conflict it should prove difficult to fully support either side, when it is extremely difficult to determine the lessor evil. It isn't hard to feel sympathy for the people of Syria, the vast majority that are caught up in this violent madness.

It is best to support the people of Syria, not the armed factions who see them as only collateral damage.

Don't let ignorance and propaganda guide your perspective.



posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by ausername
Then you are willing to overlook the brutal oppression, and crimes against humanity this man and his regime has perpetrated in his desperate efforts to cling to power in Syria?


Wait a minute, where is this brutal oppression you are speaking about? As much as I can agree that he has killed people in this war, crimes against humanity are committied all over the Middle East and with law in some cases.


In this conflict it should prove difficult to fully support either side, when it is extremely difficult to determine the lessor evil. It isn't hard to feel sympathy for the people of Syria, the vast majority that are caught up in this violent madness.


Of course they are, but what makes you think that they wanted foreign extremists backed by the west solving their problems?


It is best to support the people of Syria, not the armed factions who see them as only collateral damage.

Don't let ignorance and propaganda guide your perspective.


I do support the Syrian people and from what I can gather, the Syrian people are supporting their government. I'm sure others will disagree but that is what I am siding with. What propaganda are you talking about? I'm not ignoring anything unlike the western leaders who don't seem to give two hoots about what the Syrians want.



posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 07:11 PM
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reply to post by DarknStormy
 


What you said about the popularity of Al-Nusra in your first post is true, they are admired with in the other rebel groups yet they are still treated with some caution. In the thead I wrote about them I found that some members of the FSA have defected to Al-Nusra and others who described them as the “commando’s” of the Syrian rebellion.

I noticed that in general most of the worst atrocities tend to be committed by Al-Nusra yet I do think that at times it is possible that the FSA is using them as a scapegoat.



posted on Jan, 19 2013 @ 12:01 AM
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Originally posted by OtherSideOfTheCoin
reply to post by DarknStormy
 

What you said about the popularity of Al-Nusra in your first post is true, they are admired with in the other rebel groups yet they are still treated with some caution. In the thead I wrote about them I found that some members of the FSA have defected to Al-Nusra and others who described them as the “commando’s” of the Syrian rebellion.


I seen a news report yesterday that said they are the most admired group amongst the people of Syria or the people they are directly communicating with. I don't know about what the other groups think about them but it seems a bit weird considering they are a recognised terrorist group in the West.


I noticed that in general most of the worst atrocities tend to be committed by Al-Nusra yet I do think that at times it is possible that the FSA is using them as a scapegoat.


They are the ones always getting the blame over there, thats for sure. But its a case of the same old story. We blame one group, they deny it and then we can't work out who done it. It gets swept under the rug until the next one occurs.



posted on Jan, 19 2013 @ 01:18 AM
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reply to post by OtherSideOfTheCoin
 


This isn't the interview I was talking about but this is one of the leaders of the Al_Nusrah front. It seems as though the other report hasn't been uploaded as yet.

edit on 19-1-2013 by DarknStormy because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 19 2013 @ 01:33 PM
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reply to post by DarknStormy
 


If you’re interested in Al-Nusra then you might find the thread I have on them interesting there is a link to it in my OP if you’re interested.





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