Militant groups in Syria accused of carrying out mass executions

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With winter affecting parts of Syria, UNHCR has been distributing aid to keep the displaced warm and dry. European Union funds are important for ensuring winter supplies.© UNHCR/A.McConnell

The United Nations Human rights office(OHCHR) is accusing militant groups operating in Syria of carrying out mass executions of civilians and prisoners in their custody.

The Human Rights office says it has received reports of a succession of mass executions of civilians and fighters who were no longer taking part in hostilities in Aleppo, Idlib and Raqqa.

The executions are reported to have been undertaken by hard-line opposition groups and in particular the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is warning the groups that executions are a violation of international human rights and humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes.

Rupert Colville is the Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office.

"There seems to be a pattern developing of when they've come under threat from other groups or they've been chased out of a particular area, of executing some or all of the prisoners they have in their premises and this appears to be what happened in Aleppo for example. These are prisoners. They are people they have captured, whom they've been holding and executing them quite clearly is against international law or most probably a war crime. We are trying to make it clear to them that, they like everybody else are bound by international law. If there are indeed war crimes, evidence will be gathered and they will be susceptible to prosecution for that."

The High Commissioner reiterated her call on all parties to the Syrian conflict to treat individuals held in their custody with humanity and to immediately release all those who are deprived of their liberty in violation of international law.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1:44″

 

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