Mass executions in N. Syria could be war crimes: UN

A militant is throwing a fire ball on a front line of Syria

A militant is throwing a fire ball on a front line of Syria’s northeastern city of Deir Ezzor on January 10, 2014.
Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:0PM GMT

The United Nations human rights office says a “soaring” number of executions in Syria’s north could amount to war crimes.

In a statement on Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned militants and armed opposition groups that such executions violate international humanitarian law.

Pillay said her office had recently received reports of a series of “mass executions of civilians and fighters who were no longer participating in hostilities in Aleppo, and Raqqa by hardline armed opposition groups in Syria,” in particular by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Pillay also said that while the exact numbers were hard to verify, records show that “many civilians and fighters in the custody of extremist armed opposition groups have been executed since the beginning of this year.”

Infighting among ISIL militants and other Takfiri groups in northern and eastern Syria has killed hundreds of people during the past two weeks.

According to the UN rights office, armed opposition groups executed a number of people in Idlib in the first week of January.[Read more]