Less than a month after a spokesman for the Western-backed “Free Syrian Army” threatened in a television interview to exterminate Shia Muslims across the nation, dozens of Shia villagers in Syria were massacred by Sunni rebel forces this week, according to international news reports citing government officials and opposition fighters. Analysts said the brutal killing spree, segments of which were recorded on video and posted online, illustrated the problems with the bloody “regime change” operation being waged by the Obama administration, European powers, Sunni Arab dictators, and oftentimes foreign jihadists on the ground. About two weeks ago, rebels also massacred a Christian village.
Media accounts of the latest bloodbath reported that between 30 and 60 Shia civilians were killed by rebel forces in Hatla, a village in Deir al-Zour close to Iraq invaded by thousands of foreign-backed jihadists this week. While the Bashar al-Assad regime and opposition “activists” have offered slightly differing accounts of what happened, a general outline of the slaughter is starting to emerge — particularly as video evidence continues to surface online. The picture it paints is not pretty, and even some factions of the opposition have condemned the attacks on civilians amid an increasingly sectarian conflict fueled in large part by foreign powers.
In video recordings of the attack, rebel fighters — more than a few of whom were wearing what the Associated Press described as “Al-Qaida-style headbands” — boast about their murderous rampage. Amid the now-typical and incessant Islamist shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” opposition fighters can be seen torching civilian homes and celebrating over dead bodies. “This is your end, you dogs,” one rebel says, cursing the executed “pug-nosed” Shia Muslims shown in one video. Another man can be heard shouting “the homes of the infidel Shiites were burned."
In an online film cited by the New York Times, rebel forces show off the signature black flag used by al-Qaeda, its Syrian affiliate al-Nusra, and other Islamist terror groups. “We have raised the banner of ‘There Is No God but God’ over the houses of the rejectionist Shiite apostates,” an opposition fighter chants as the village burns, referring to Shia Muslims as “rejectionists” due to their different interpretation of Islam. “Here are the jihadists celebrating their storming of the rejectionists’ houses — the Shiite rejectionists!”
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Photo of Syrian rebels: AP Images