US-backed forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are stepping up their offensive in Aleppo, the country’s largest city, amid reports Wednesday that the rebels had engaged in summary execution of dozens of captured loyalist police and soldiers. A gruesome video of one such slaughter was widely distributed on the Internet.
The scale of the fighting was shown in the reported storming of a police station at al-Marju in the Salhein district of Aleppo by a force of more than 700 "rebel" fighters. The 45-man security detachment inside resisted the attack fiercely until a large bomb was thrown into the building, killing at least 15 of the defenders. Most of the rest then surrendered.
One video showed four men, accused of being members of the pro-Assad Shabbiha militia force, lined up against a wall and forced to kneel, then mowed down with automatic weapons as their killers chanted “Allahu Akbar.” The victims were said to be members of the Barri family, a clan linked to Assad through adherence to the Alawite religion, a branch of Shiite Islam.
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