- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2013

Syrian rebel fighters are guilty of war crimes, and have killed and abducted scores of unarmed civilians during a dozen sieges against villages in Latakia, a human rights group accused on Friday.

The new report reveals that Jihadi-led rebel forces in the war-torn nation killed 190 civilians and captured and held hostage another 200 — and those are low-ball figures — who resided in villages known to be sympathetic to the government’s cause, The Associated Press reported. Human Rights Watch researchers say they discovered the offenses during a personal visit to the villages, located in a coastal region of the country.

The crimes were so systematic — entire families were executed and women and children abducted — they could even be considered crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said.

The villages are part of the Alawite sect of Shiite Islam, considered a heretical group by Sunni Muslims who make up the bulk of the rebel fighting force.

One survivor told Human Rights Group officials that he was able to flee his Barouda home when he saw rebels approaching, but he had to leave behind his wife, who can’t walk without the assistance of crutches, and his son, 23, who’s paralyzed. The man said he returned later and found his wife and son buried in the dirt, blood and bullet holes in his bedroom, AP reported.

The West, meanwhile, including the United States, continues to provide aid to rebel fighters.