By Jim Kouri
Before embracing the Syrian rebellion, American leaders would be wise to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by some of the rebels fighting the Assad regime. A graphic video examined by officials from the United Nations on Saturday appears to show Syrian rebels beating and murdering soldiers or pro-Assad militiamen, and is possibly evidence of war crimes, according to a counterterrorism source in Israel.
The Israeli source emailed an Internet hyperlink of the video to the Law Enforcement Examiner on Saturday, but believes the actual incident occurred on Thursday.
The video shows gunmen beating and shooting a group of prisoners who are seen cowering on the floor. It has been alleged that radical Islamist carried out the attack after seizing several security checkpoints.
The video appears to show agitated rebels kicking and pushing the soldiers or pro-government militiamen, known locally as “Shabiha”, to the ground inside one of the seized buildings. Shots are then fired into the cowering mass of bodies.
Rupert Colville, of the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights, said it appeared that the victims “were no longer combatants and therefore, at this point, it looks very like a war crime”.
Coville noted that the video, if proved to be genuine, would almost certainly form part of a future prosecution.
Human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement: “This shocking footage depicts a potential war crime in progress, and demonstrates an utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the armed group in question.”
It’s believed the ultra-radical Salafists are responsible, according to the Israeli source. The Salafists and other terrorist groups actively fighting the Assad government do not answer to any military council affiliated with the rebel Free Syrian Army, according to the counterterrorism source.