Islamist rebels execute 11 Syrian soldiers for 'massacres'

Islamist rebels execute 11 Syrian soldiers for 'massacres'

BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
Islamist rebels execute 11 Syrian soldiers for massacres

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on May 15, 2013 reportedly shows one of three captured Syrian army officers (C) being summarily executed in the northern city of Raqa by fighters of the Al-Nusra Front. The Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged loyalty to Al-Qaeda, is not part of the Free Syrian Army but is major fighting force on the ground. AFP PHOTO/HO/YOUTUBE

Fighters of the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in Syria executed 11 men they accused of taking part in massacres by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, a video published on Thursday showed.

A man whose face was covered in a black balaclava shot each man in the back of the head as they kneeled, blindfolded and lined up in a row in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor.

"The sharia court for the eastern region in Deir al-Zor has sentenced to death these apostate soldiers that committed massacres against our brothers and families in Syria," the executioner said on the video.

Islamist militants with black flags shouted "God is great" as each man was shot. The executioner returned to some victims, firing more bullets into them to make sure they were dead.

The video is the second in two days to show such executions by fighters who say they are from al Qaeda-linked groups.

A video posted online on Wednesday from the northern province of Raqqa, which is controlled by Islamist rebels, showed three blindfolded men sitting on the curb of a central roundabout before being shot in the head with a pistol.

A man speaking in the video said the executions were revenge for killings in the coastal town of Banias two weeks ago. Photos and videos of the alleged Banias massacre showed dozens of mutilated bodies, many of them children, lying in the streets.

Videos of executions and torture have become increasingly common in Syria, where more than 94,000 people have been killed in a conflict now in its third year, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group.