A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Oct. 11, exposes atrocities committed by al-Qaeda affiliates in Latakia, Syria on Aug. 4.
Latakia is said to be the coastal stronghold for the Assad family. Not only did rebels target the regime but also attacked 10 Alawite villages in sectarian violence.
Rebel insurgents dubbed the attack as "Operation to Liberate the Coast." It started on Aug. 4, the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end to Ramadan, this is when several insurgent groups launched their large-scale offensive on Latakia. The attack started between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. During the rebel offensive Assad's forces were routed from the area. On Aug. 5, government forces recaptured the area and fully regained control on Aug. 18.
The Long War Journal reports that HRW "has collected the names of 190 civilians who were killed by opposition forces in their offensive on the villages, including 57 women and at least 18 children and 14 elderly men."
The HRW report titled "You Can Still See Their Blood” is said to document "serious abuses committed by opposition forces on August 4 during their attack on the villages." According to the report there were eight survivors and various other witnesses that described the atrocities committed by the al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria.
The terror groups known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar are two of the five groups responsible for the atrocities. The reports says, "witnesses described how opposition forces executed residents and opened fire on civilians, sometimes killing or attempting to kill entire families."
These families were said to be in their homes unarmed or were fleeing from the attack. The terrorists would kill adult male family members while holding the female relatives and children hostage.
The HRW reports also says, "At the time of writing, (of the report) according to opposition sources, over 200 civilians, the vast majority of whom are women and children, continue to be held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, groups that led the opposition offensive."
The HRW was allowed access in the aftermath of the attack and interviewed various residents, three of who were wounded. All witnesses confirmed the atrocities committed by the terror groups.
According to the report other witnesses were also interviewed which included, "three additional relatives of missing or killed people, six Syrian security, army, and militia force members who participated in the fighting, three medical and emergency response staff, an activist from Latakia city, and an opposition member who is not a fighter but who was present during the operation.
In addition we interviewed two armed opposition leaders who did not participate in the fighting, an international humanitarian worker with knowledge of the opposition groups who participated in the operation, and a western diplomat with knowledge of the use of Turkish territory by opposition fighters."
The information gathered from the witnesses was corroborated by HRW by their "onsite investigation" through the analyzing of photos and video footage of the attack.
The HRW says the evidence points to all five groups involved in the offensive are directly linked, "to specific incidents that amount to war crimes." The terrorist groups that participated in the attack were:
Ahrar al-Sham, Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar and Suquor al-Izz. All five of these groups are al-Qaeda affiliated. The al-Nusra Front is responsible for numerous atrocities and attacks against Syrian Civilians.
In Aug., the al-Nusra Front allegedly killed 450 civilians, including 120 children, in the district of Tal Abyad. On Sept. 4, they attacked a Christian village in Maaloula, Syria. The ISIS has also committed numerous barbaric acts of murder in Syria too.
On Aug. 15, the ISIS executed two teenage boys because they were said to be "pro-Assad." On Sept. 3, they beheaded 24 civilians including a 40-day old infant. These are only several examples of how Syrian civilians are being treated by Muslim extremists who want Islamic law to rule over Syria.
Our government has admitted to knowing that al-Qaeda is present in Syria; however, we continue to send support to them. Does that mean our government is complicit in the atrocities committed in Syria? What do you think? Please comment below and let your voice be heard.
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