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Syrian Rebels Accused of Kidnapping, Torture

Human rights group calls out freedom fighters for abuses
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2012 9:44 AM CDT
Syrian Rebels Accused of Kidnapping, Torture
Rebels of the Free Syrian Army sit around a stove as they rest into an old store house on March 17, 2012 in the mountains in Idlib province in northern Syria.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – It's tempting to paint the conflict in Syria as a brutal regime fighting virtuous rebels, but Human Rights Watch today issued an open letter to the Free Syrian Army accusing insurgents of a variety of brutalities, including kidnapping and torturing security forces and government supporters. "The Syrian government's brutal tactics cannot justify abuses by armed opposition groups," it writes. "Opposition leaders should make it clear to their followers that they must not torture, kidnap, or execute under any circumstances."

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The letter noted, however, that the rebels "do not appear to belong to an organized command structure" or to be following Syrian National Council orders. The group also noted the many well-documented abuses of Syrian government forces. Fighting between the sides spilled into the heart of Damascus yesterday, even as Kofi Annan arrived with a team of monitors representing the UN and Arab League. (Read more Syria stories.)

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