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Appeals to be made for others to rethink killings in country’s ‘continuous and cruel war’
Syria executes 24 people charged with lighting wildfires
Syria has executed 24 people for burning down farmland and forests, in what activists said was an apparent attempt to deter future crimes.
A Syrian woman looking for help for her sons who have not been seen for over a week. Photograph: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images
The victims are “all charged with hooliganism,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Reuters.
“This is one more attempt to intimidate people because of the permanent and cruel war on Syrian people,” Abdel Rahman said.
The group said the executions, carried out by firing squad in the town of Kafr Zita, north-east of Damascus, on Friday, were the country’s latest killings in the 17-year conflict.
Homs and Hama province, on the Mediterranean coast, has seen frequent aerial and missile strikes against rebel-held areas as the government seeks to squeeze opposition forces along the main coastal highway.
The regime appears to have recently intensified aerial attacks on Idlib province, where insurgent groups are besieged by the government and allied Russian troops.
Al Assad regime has committed war crimes and genocide in Syria, human rights organisations have said.
Syria rejected the charges, calling them “completely baseless”, and Assad said in June he did not fear international justice because Syria’s “legitimate” government had the means to continue the fight against terrorism.
International investigators estimate hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since 2011, which is nearing its 18th year.
The US Department of State designated Syria “a country of concern” for its denial of access to international investigators in 2018, Human Rights Watch said in its annual World Report released in May.
In the report, the rights group called on the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, to address allegations of Assad government’s war crimes, and to move talks from Geneva to New York.