Syrian Troops Execute 20 Men in Damascus

July 23, 2012  

As the fighting in Damascus and Aleppo continued, Syrian troops executed at least 20 unarmed men in the Damascus neighborhood of Mezzeh on Sunday, Reuters reported.

According to the report, the men were executed because the troops suspected they had been aiding rebels in the area.

The bodies of 20 men, aged approximately 20 to 30, were collected from the neighborhoods of al-Ikhlas, al-Zayat, al Farouk, Hawakir al-Sabbarah and al-Basatin, several activists told Reuters by phone from Mezzeh.

“The bodies were taken to al-Mustafa Mosque. Most had bullet holes, one with as many as 18. Three had their hands tied behind their back. Some of the men were in their pajamas. Several had their legs broken or fingers missing. Others were stabbed with knifes,” said Bashir al-Kheir, one of the activists.

The report added that video footage and photos posted by activists on YouTube and Facebook purportedly showed the bodies on the mosque floor. One bore what appeared to be torture marks on the stomach. Two men appeared to have had their throats slit.

Meanwhile, Syrian rebel forces on Sunday seized an army infantry school in the town of Musalmiyeh, 10 miles north of the city of Aleppo.

A senior military defector based in Turkey said, “This is of big strategic and symbolic importance. The school has ammunition depots and armored formations and it protects the northern gate to Aleppo.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak predicted last week that the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime was closer than ever.

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