Syria jihadists execute soldiers, ‘collaborators’ near Damascus

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A picture released by al-Nusra Front’s media arm Al-Manara Al-Baida allegedly  shows bodies lying on the ground after men were executed by members of the  Jihadist group in the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus on November 26, 2013.AFP  PHOTO / HO / Al-Manara Al-Baida
November 26, 2013 / The Daily Star

BEIRUT:  An Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria  has announced the execution of two soldiers  and three “collaborators” with President Bashar Assad’s regime near Damascus,  according to a statement published on jihadist sites.

The Nusra Front  also published a photograph showing  the bodies of five men, their hands tied and their mouths bound with  handkerchiefs. Bloodstains can be seen on the ground next to the bodies.

” Nusra Front has arrested several people collaborating with the regime in Damascus  province. They are known to have  assassinated fighters and other Muslims, and to have provided information to  enable the regime to bombard them,” the Front said in a statement.

“God’s will has been carried out against several collaborators of the Nusayri  regime,” it added, using a derogatory term to refer to Alawites.

Syria’s anti-regime jihadists have an extremist, sectarian interpretation of  Sunni Islam, and brand non-Sunnis — including Alawites such as Assad — as  apostates.

The two soldiers among the group that was executed in the Eastern Ghouta  area east of  Damascus included a member  of Syria’s elite Republican Guard, the statement said.

The statement emerged amid a major rebel offensive aimed at breaking a  year-long army siege on the Eastern  Ghouta area.

Scores of fighters have been killed on both sides in the escalation.

Rebels have taken over several small villages since Saturday, reversing a  trend of army advances against opposition-held areas.

Meanwhile a monitoring group said Wednesday that another jihadist group, the  Islamic State of Iraq  and Greater Syria, had executed the head of  an anti-Assad rebel battalion, accusing him of “apostasy”.

ISIS executed “a rebel battalion leader, accusing him of insulting God and of  apostasy,” the Syrian Observatory  for Human Rights said.

The battalion has been locked in combat against ISIS, which has pressed hard  to crush other rebel groups in areas across eastern and northern Syria.

ISIS executed the rebel leader after holding him for three days, the  Observatory said.

Syrian activists have repeatedly denounced abuses committed by jihadists, who  have taken advantage of Syria’s war to establish a presence in the country.

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