Syrian rebels 'killed civilians'

Syrian rebel groups killed at least 190 civilians and seized over 200 hostages during a military offensive in August, Human Rights Watch said.

Syrian rebels accused of crimes against humanity

Human Rights Watch have accused fighters of the Syrian rebel armies of a litany of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.

The fighters are accused of killing civilians, in an offensive in the rural Latakia region, and taking women and children hostage.

Read: Syrian rebel 'abuses not the actions of rogue fighters'

In a video released by the group, researcher Lama Faith said the civilians killed were the victims of what is increasingly becoming a sectarian war.

The Free Syria Army - the main Western-backed rebel alliance - distanced itself from the five rebel groups named by Human Rights Watch as the main perpetrators.

"Anyone who commits such crimes will not belong to the revolution anymore," said spokesman Louay Mikdad.

Read: Syrian rebels 'executed at least 190 civilians'

Syrian rebel 'abuses not the actions of rogue fighters'

Human Rights Watch said the killing of 190 civilians by Syrian rebels was a co-ordinated attack on civilians loyal to president Assad, and not the work of "rogue fighters."

Read: Syrian rebels 'executed at least 190 civilians'

These abuses were not the actions of rogue fighters. This operation was a coordinated, planned attack on the civilian population in these Alawite villages.

– Joe Stork, acting Middle East director, Human Rights Watch

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Syrian rebels 'executed at least 190 civilians'

Armed rebel groups in Syria killed at least 190 civilians and seized over 200 hostages during a military offensive in August, Human Rights Watch said.

The site of a mass grave in the Sleibeh al-Hamboushieh hamlet near Latakia.
The site of a mass grave in the Sleibeh al-Hamboushieh hamlet near Latakia. Credit: Human Rights Watch

In a report released today, the New York based group said rebel soldiers were responsible for unlawfully killing civilians in pro-government Alawite villages in the rural Latakia province.

The groups responsible for the deaths are still holding hostages, the vast majority of which are women and children, the group said.