Bodies of at Least 78 Young Men Are Pulled from River in Syria Following 'Mass Execution'
Morris, Loveday, The Independent (London, England)
Family and friends in Aleppo search for missing loved ones amid one of the largest mass killings since the conflict began
The bodies of dozens of executed young men were discovered in a small canal in the Syrian city of Aleppo yesterday, before being dragged out and lined up on the muddy bank in a chilling scene that underscored the brutality of the grinding civil war.
Foreign journalists were able to reach the area and verify reports from rebels and activists that at least 65 corpses were found in the Quweiq River in Bustan al-Qasr. An Agence France Presse correspondent at the scene said 78 bodies were recovered by the end of the day, but more were still in the water and could not be retrieved because of sniper fire.
In a haunting video posted by activists, a cameraman picked his way through the bodies at the riverside. Bloated and mud-caked, many had their hands bound and appeared to have bullet wounds to the head, still seeping blood.
After zooming in on 37 of the dead - some of whom appeared to be in their teens, dressed in jeans and trainers - he lifted his camera to the river bank in front of him, where at least a dozen more bodies lay in the distance.
Residents gathered at the riverbank yesterday to search for loved ones. "My brother disappeared weeks ago when he was crossing [through] the regime-held zone, and we don't know where he is or what has become of him," Mohammed Abdel Aziz told the AFP as he examined the bodies.
The area of Bustan al-Qasr, a neighbourhood just north-east of the key battleground of Salaheddine, remains contested and has been the scene of intense battles and air strikes since Aleppo was convulsed by fighting in July. The city remains divided, as neither side appears able to take the upper hand in the street-by-street battles. The 129-mile Quweiq River begins in Turkey and travels through government and rebel-held districts of Aleppo before it reaches Bustan al-Qasr. Last night, it remained unclear who the men were, as none were carrying identification. Both sides have been accused of committing summary executions in the past. While activists and rebels squarely blamed the government, speculating that the men may have been killed further upstream, a regime official told news …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Bodies of at Least 78 Young Men Are Pulled from River in Syria Following 'Mass Execution'. Contributors: Morris, Loveday - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: January 3, 2013. Page number: 28. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.