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Video May Show Rebels Executing Syrian Soldiers

In Aleppo, Syria, this week: A rebel crossed a ruined street. This image shows him in a mirror's reflection.
Javier Manzano
AFP/Getty Images
In Aleppo, Syria, this week: A rebel crossed a ruined street. This image shows him in a mirror's reflection.

A video that appears to show rebels in Syria executing a small group of soldiers from the regime of President Bashar Assad has prompted human rights groups and officials to appeal to all sides to respect the human rights of their prisoners.

NPR's Kelly McEvers reports from Beirut that the video, which appeared online Thursday, "shows Syrian rebels beating eight to 10 soldiers before lining them up on the ground and executing them with automatic rifles. .. One rebel is heard telling a prisoner, 'do you know that we belong to the people of this country?' The authenticity of the video could not be verified. The incident reportedly was part of a rebel surge to overtake government checkpoints."

Now, Amnesty International is urging the Assad regime and its opponents "to respect the laws of war and to refrain from torturing, ill-treating or killing their prisoners" and says it is investigating the incident.

The U.N. is also on the case. According to the BBC:

"A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said: 'It seems very likely that this is a war crime, another one.' "

Human rights groups and Syrian activists estimate that more than 30,000 people have been killed during fighting in Syria since protests against the Assad regime began in early 2011 and a civil war eventually broke out.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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