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Syrian rights group: More than 125 Alawites killed in village of Aqrab

Special to WorldTribune.com

NICOSIA — The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said between 125 and 150
Alawites were killed by Assad’s Shabiha militia on Dec. 11 in Aqrab, some 40
kilometers southwest of Hama.

The British-based opposition group said a Shabiha unit took hundreds of Alawites hostage and then opened fire.

Syrian militiamen known as Shabiha are seen in an alley in the Kfar-suseh area of Damascus. /AP

“We have received a series of contradictory reports on events in the
village of Aqrab, which is inhabited by a minority of Alawites,” Syrian
Observatory said. “One report was that pro-regime militiamen held Alawite civilians captive.”

Survivors posted video statements that said at least 10 Shabiha fighters
began killing the Alawites as the rebel Free Syrian Army approached Aqrab. They said Shabiha first held 200 Alawites at a village clinic and eventually opened fire and detonated bombs. The militia members were also said to have used the Alawites as a human shield.

Hours later, FSA entered Aqrab and offered medical attention to the
Alawite survivors.

The Assad regime has denied that Shabiha was involved in the killings.

“Assad will continue to fight to defend his seat and the interests of
his clique even if has to use the Alawites as human shields to protect
himself,” opposition figure Faiek Meer said.

A Western diplomatic source said Islamist rebels, including FSA, have
killed Alawite and Christian civilians and then identified the casualties as
Sunnis. The source said the latest fighting reflected a rebel campaign to
expel Alawites and Shi’ites — deemed the most loyal to the Damascus
regime — from Hama.

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