Syrian linked by video to brutal killing is arrested in Sweden

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A Syrian rebel who was shown on video participating in the brutal execution of captured Assad regime soldiers has been arrested in Sweden.

Haisam Omar Sakhanh was arrested on March 11 in the town of Karlskoga. Swedish authorities charged him with a crime against international law.

Haisam Omar Sakhanh, left, is seen in video of rebels executing Syrian soldiers.
Haisam Omar Sakhanh, left, is seen in video of rebels executing Syrian soldiers.

Details of the mass execution of the Syrian soldiers, which took place in 2012, were revealed in a September 2013 report by The New York Times after a video surfaced showing Syrian rebels killing seven captured soldiers in Idlib province. A former rebel, who said he was repulsed by the atrocities, provided the video to the Times.

The video showed Sakhanh among a group of rebels as their commander, Abdul Samad Issa, recited a sectarian monologue and ordered the killing of seven shirtless and Syrian regime prisoners, five of them bound.

The commander, known as “The Uncle” by his fighters, fired the first shot, into the back of one prisoner’s head and the other rebels then opened fire. The man identified as Sakhanh was shown holding a Kalashnikov rifle, with which he shot a helpless man at his feet.

Investigators found another video of the captured soldiers, with many rebels posing behind them before the killing. Sakhanh was visible in that scene, too, the police said.

Sakhanh faces life imprisonment in Sweden if convicted, authorities said.

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