Rights group: Syrian govt. executed family members of rebels in Retian
RETIAN, Syria, Feb. 21 (UPI) — A human rights monitoring group has accused the Syrian government of executing dozens of civilians in a village north of Aleppo on Tuesday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 49 Syrian civilians in Retian, a village north of Aleppo, were “executed in cold blood” by regime forces backed by Hezbollah and non-Syrian fighters on Feb. 17.
The Syrian government has denied the claims.
The dead include 13 rebels and their families, comprising five women and 10 children who were “killed in their homes without any resistance,” SOHR reports. The group claims a rebel and his family were executed after he fired two rifle shots at regime forces as they moved in, and that another man and his family were killed while fleeing the town in a vehicle.
On Thursday SOHR reported 32 regime soldiers and allied gunmen had been taken prisoner in the town’s farmlands by rebels with Islamic battalions and the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s arm in Syria.
SOHR also reported executions by regime forces in the nearby village of Herdantin. Fighting has recently raged between both sides in regions around Aleppo after regime forces attempted to cut an opposition supply route.
Meanwhile, on Saturday a car bomb killed four people — two men and two women — in President Bashar al-Assad’s birthplace, the city of al-Qardaha, for the first time in the country’s civil war, which has raged since 2011.
SOHR, which collects information from a network of sources on the ground in Syria, last month accused the al-Assad regime of 504 airstrikes that killed 127 civilians and wounded at least 500 others in a 96-hour period. In November it released a report indicating U.S.-led airstrikes in the country had killed 785 Islamic State fighters, 72 Nusra Front militants and 52 civilians.
According to the monitoring group, over 30,000 civilians have been killed and wounded in Syria since the February 22, 2014 passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139, which called on all parties in the Syrian Civil War to allow free access to humanitarian aid.
In the same report, SOHR called on the UNSCR to form a new resolution “to stop killing after the failure” of Resolution 2139 and for war crimes against civilians to be taken up in an international criminal court.