Dozens of bodies found in Aleppo river
Published Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The bodies of dozens of men, many of them with their hands bound behind their backs, were found on the muddy banks of a small river Tuesday in the northern city of Aleppo, oppositions groups and government officials said.
The men, most of them in their 20s and 30s according to the sources, were discovered in the neighborhood of Bustan al-Qasr.
Intense clashes between rebels and government troops have raged in the district since rebel fighters launched an offensive on Aleppo in July.
The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, put the number of bodies found at 80 and blamed government forces for the killings.
A Free Syrian Army officer at the scene said that at least 68 bodies had been recovered and that many more were still being dragged from the water in the rebel-held area.
The government blamed the killings on Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda-linked group fighting alongside Syrian rebels.
Syria’s state run news agency claimed that family members of the victims have identified some of the bodies, saying that they were targeted for refusing to collaborate with rebels.
A senior government security source quoted by AFP said many of the victims were from Bustan al-Qasr and had been reported kidnapped earlier.
"It has been confirmed that a number of the victims had been abducted by armed terrorist groups and their families had made repeated attempts to negotiate their releases,” the source said.
Al-Akhbar cannot independently verify casualty figures or accounts of the massacre.
Since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, there have been several cases of alleged mass killings. The rebels and the government routinely blame each other for the deaths.
Several amateur videos have been posted online showing dozens of bloodied bodies, some of them decomposed, strewn across the banks of the river.
The discovery came as UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi was scheduled to brief the United Nations Security Council in New York.
(AP, AFP, Al-Akhbar)