Obama is backing these savages. What does that tell us about Obama? Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Obama are on the same page. On October 11, 2013, Al-Zawahiri "addressing the mujahideen in Syria, urged them to unite, and said their unity and subsequent establishment of an Islamic state......"
"Establishing an Islamic state in Syria, says Al-Zawahiri, will pave the way to regaining the Caliphate and liberating Jerusalem." In that regard, Al-Zawahiri reiterates the need for Muslims to focus their efforts on supporting the jihad in Syria, while noting that victory on the Syrian front will be a blow against the Safavid (Shi'ite) project in the region. Al-Zawahiri also calls upon the mujahideen in Syria to unite and rise above any organizational affiliation in order to establish an Islamic state there. Interestingly, Al-Zawahiri grants autonomy to the mujahideen in Syria to work together to reach this goal by saying that the they should in fact collaborate through their own "agreement, consent, and choice," and that their decisions will be respected by Al-Qaeda.
Syrian Rebels Killed 190, Human-Rights Group Alleges Rights Group Says August Attack Was Against Pro-Regime Villages Wall Street Journal, Houranl via AP
Jihadi-led rebel fighters in Syria killed at least 190 civilians and abducted more than 200 during an offensive against pro-regime villages, committing a war crime, an international human rights group said Friday.
The Aug. 4 attacks on unarmed civilians in more than a dozen villages in the coastal province of Latakia were systematic and could even amount to a crime against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a 105-page report based. The findings are based on a visit a month later to the area, with permission from the Syrian regime.
The report quoted witnesses as saying rebels went house to house, killing entire families or killing the men and taking women and children hostage.
The villagers belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam which forms the backbone of President Bashar Assad's regime _ and which Sunni Muslim extremists consider heretics.
One survivor, Hassan Shebli, told HRW he fled as rebels approached his village of Barouda at dawn, but was forced to leave behind his wife, who was unable to walk without crutches, and his paralyzed 23-year-old son.
When Shebli returned days later, after government forces retook the village, he found his wife and son buried near the house and bullet holes and blood splatter in the bedroom, the New York-based group said.
The findings are bound to feed mounting Western unease about the tactics of some of those trying to topple Assad and about the growing role of jihadi rebels, including foreign fighters linked to al-Qaida.
The main Western-backed rebel alliance, the Free Syria Army, distanced itself from the five rebel groups named by the HRW as the main perpetrators.
"Anyone who commits such crimes will not belong to the revolution anymore," said spokesman Louay Mikdad.
He said the alliance is not cooperating with extremist groups, and that al-Qaida-linked rebels frequently attack FSA fighters.
A rebel in the Latakia area, who goes by the name of Mohammed Haffawi, denied civilians were killed during the offensive. Reached by Skype, he said one of the rebel groups is holding about 100 women and children as bargaining chips for the release of prisoners held by the regime.
U.N. war crimes investigators have accused both sides in Syria's civil war, now in its third year, of wrongdoing, though they said earlier this year that the scale and intensity of rebel abuses hasn't reached that of the regime.
The new allegations of rebel abuses come at a time when the regime is regaining some international legitimacy because of its apparent cooperation with an internationally mandated program to destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile by mid-2014.
Lama Fakih of Human Rights Watch said the rebel abuses in Latakia "certainly amount to war crimes," and may even rise to the level of crimes against humanity.
The group said more than 20 rebel groups participated in the Latakia offensive.
Five groups, including two linked to al-Qaida and others with jihadi leanings, led the campaign, which appeared to have been funded in part by private donations raised in the Persian Gulf, the report said.
Human Rights Watch appealed to the Gulf states to crack down on such money transfers. It also urged Turkey, a rear base for many rebel groups, to prosecute those linked to war crimes and restrict the flow of weapons and fighters.
The Western-backed Syrian opposition must cut ties with the groups that led the Latakia offensive, the report said.
Most of the alleged attacks on civilians occurred on Aug. 4, said the group. The campaign began with rebel fighters seizing three regime posts and then the villages. After the regime positions fell, no pro-government troops were left in the Alawite villages. It took government forces two weeks to recapture all the villages.
Human Rights Watch said at least 67 of the 190 civilians slain by the rebels were killed at close range or while trying to flee. There are signs that most of the others were also killed intentionally or indiscriminately, but more investigation is needed, the group said.
The rebels seized more than 200 civilians from the Alawite villages, most of them women and children, and demanded to trade the hostages for prisoners held by the regime.
The HRW report said the rebel groups that led the offensive included Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, both linked to al-Qaida; Ahrar al-Sham; Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar; and Suqqor al-Izz.