AI Index: MDE 24/008/2013
14 March 2013
“My daughter shouted to me, ‘mum, come quick and see dad.’ He was on TV… as he was shown being killed, I pushed my daughter away to block her from seeing… but she did see.”
Widow of Colonel Fou’ad Abd al-Rahman, as identified by his family, whose beheading with Colonel Izz al-Din Badr was aired on television and the Internet.
The dead bodies found every day in towns and villages across Syria bearing marks of execution-style killing and torture are the grim evidence of mounting war crimes and other abuses being committed not just by government forces, but also by armed opposition groups – some but not all more or less loosely affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) – in the context of the country’s bitter internal armed conflict. Such groups are summarily killing people with a chilling sense of impunity, and the death toll continues to rise as more towns and villages come under the control of armed opposition groups.
Since March 2011, Amnesty International has closely monitored and documented the Syrian authorities’ crackdown on opposition and repeatedly condemned the authorities’ widespread as well as systematic attacks on the civilian population, which amount to crimes against humanity and, since 2012, war crimes in some instances. This briefing looks at serious abuses, some amounting to war crimes, committed by the burgeoning number of armed opposition groups operating in Syria, focusing mainly on summary killings.