Syrian rebels may have committed a war crime, human rights groups say, after a new video appears to show them killing a group of captured soldiers.
An anti-regime activist organisation said the killings took place near the northern town Saraqeb, which has been the scene in past weeks of heavy fighting between rebels and forces of President Bashar Assad's regime.
Human rights groups said they were trying to confirm the video's authenticity. The footage was consistent with other Associated Press reporting in the area. The video is dated yesterday, a day when the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported heavy attacks by rebels on regime checkpoints at Saraqeb.
The video shows rebels beating and kicking a group of captured soldiers, some of them apparently wounded. The soldiers are not bound or blindfolded. The rebels then shoot them dead. The exact number of soldiers in the video not clear, but appears to be around 10.
London-based Amnesty International called the video "shocking" and said it may depict a "potential war crime in progress".
A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said it was examining the video. "The allegations are that these were soldiers who were no longer combatants and therefore, at this point, it looks very like a war crime. Another one," the spokesman, Rupert Colville, told reporters in Geneva.
"Unfortunately this could be the latest in a string of documented summary executions by opposition factions as well as by government forces and groups affiliated with them, such as the (pro-government) shabbier militia.
"The people committing these crimes should be under no illusion that they will escape accountability, because there is a lot of accumulated evidence, perhaps including this video," he said.
Today, the Observatory condemned the killing of nearly a dozen soldiers at the Hmeisho checkpoint. Amnesty released a highly critical statement.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Observatory, asked how rebels can demand rights at a time when they violate such rights.
www.amnesty.org.uk/ (Amnesty International)