Five groups, including two linked to al-Qaida and others with jihadi leanings, led the campaign, which appeared to have been funded in part by private donations raised in the Persian Gulf, the report said.
The Aug. 4 rebel attack tool place in more than a dozen villages in the coastal province of Latakia were systematic and could even amount to a crime against humanity, according to the 105-page report released this morning.
This report documents serious abuses committed by opposition forces on August 4 during their attack on the villages. Eight survivors and witnesses described how opposition forces executed residents and opened fire on civilians, sometimes killing or attempting to kill entire families who were either in their homes unarmed or fleeing from the attack, and at other times killing adult male family members, and holding the female relatives and children hostage. At the time of writing, 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.Witnesses said rebels went house to house, in some cases killing entire families and in other cases killing the men and taking women and children hostage. The villagers belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam which forms the backbone of President Bashar Assad's regime — and which Sunni Muslim extremists consider heretics.
In some cases families in their entirety were executed or gunned down by opposition fighters, in others, surviving family members had to flee leaving loved ones behind. One resident in the hamlet between the villages of Blouta and al-Hamboushieh described how he was able to flee his home with his mother as fighters entered his neighborhood but that he had to leave his elderly father and blind aunt behind in their house because of their physical infirmness. He said that when he returned to the hamlet after the government retook the area he found that his father and aunt had been killed:Human Rights Watch said at least 67 of the 190 civilians slain by the rebels were killed at close range or while trying to flee. There are signs that most of the others were also killed intentionally or indiscriminately, but more investigation is needed, the group said.
My mom was here in the house with me. She came out of the house first, and I was behind her. We saw the three fighters just in front of us, and then we fled on foot down behind the house and into the valley. The three fighters that I saw were all dressed in black. They were shooting at us from two different directions. They had machine guns and were using snipers. My older brother came down and hid with us as well. We hid, but my dad stayed in the house. He was killed in his bed. My aunt, she is an 80 year old blind woman, was also killed in her room. Her name is Nassiba.Fourteen residents and first responders told Human Rights Watch that they witnessed executions or saw bodies that bore signs of execution after opposition forces were pushed out of the area on August 18 by government forces, including in some cases corpses that were bound, and bodies that had been decapitated. A doctor working in the National Hospital in Latakia who was receiving the dead and wounded from Latakia countryside told Human Rights Watch that they had received 205 corpses of civilians killed during the August 4-August 18 operation. The doctor showed Human Rights Watch a medical report the hospital prepared on August 26 stating that the, “[c ]ause of death in several of them [the bodies] was multiple gunshot wounds all over the bodies, in addition to stab wounds made with a sharp instrument, given the decapitation observed in most bodies…Some corpses were found in a state of complete charring, and others had their feet tied…” The medical report reflected that the amount of decay the corpses received by the hospital after opposition forces left the area exhibited was consistent with having been killed around August 4. An opposition activist who was present in the affected villages during the operation told Human Rights Watch on the night of August 4 that on that day there were “160 or 200 Alawite dead.”
The rebels seized more than 200 civilians from the Alawite villages, most of them women and children, and demanded to trade the hostages for prisoners held by the regime.
There is much more in this report of the horrors the villages endured in this one attack
These are the same rebels who the President wanted to support, first by arming then by a full-scale attack on the regime after reports of government-led chemical weapons attack. These are the same rebels Senator John McCain has constantly urged Obama to help.
The Human Rights Watch report is additional proof of the fact many in our government refuse to acknowledge---this is a "Civil" War between the bad guys and the other bad guys. The United States should not be risking the lives of our American heroes by taking sides and entering this conflict.
Click here to read the entire report.