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At least 80 men and boys found in mass execution in Syria

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

At least 80 young men and boys have been found killed execution-style with a single bullet to the head or neck, in a river in the Syrian city of Aleppo. At least 65 bodies were found in the Quweiq River, which separates the Bustan al-Qasr district from Ansari in the southwest of the city. The body count is expected to rise.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many more bodies were still being dragged from the water, a Free Syrian Army fighter at the scene said. "Until now we have recovered 68 bodies, some of them just teens," Captain Abu Sada said, adding that all of them had been "executed by the regime . But there must be more than 100. There are still many in the water, and we are trying to recover them."

Many of the victims were from Bustan al-Qasr and had been reported kidnapped earlier, a senior government security source said.

"They were kidnapped by terrorist groups, who some are accusing of being pro-regime, and executed last night in a park in Bustan al-Qasr under their control," a government source said by telephone.

"Now these terrorist groups are creating a media campaign, showing the bodies being recovered from the Quweiq River in an area under their control."

The governmental source said it has been confirmed that "a number of the victims had been abducted by armed terrorist groups and their families had made repeated attempts to negotiate their releases.

"We will disclose the identities of those killed as soon as we are able to secure the bodies, which is a difficult process since the area is in the hands of terrorist groups."

There is confusion at the scene. "We don't know who they are because there was no ID on them," a volunteer said as he helped load one of the bodies on a truck.

The bodies are being taken to the hospital at Zarzur where relatives can identify them. "Those who are not identified will be buried in a common grave," noting on official, saying that some was unrecognizable because of the impact of the bullet.

People gathered at the bank seeking their lost relatives. "My brother disappeared weeks ago when he was crossing (through) the regime-held zone, and we don't know where he is or what has become of him," Mohammed Abdel Aziz said as he looked at the mud-covered bodies one by one.

"They could have been executed a couple of days ago and the current brought the bodies this far," an FSA fighter, Abu Anas, said.

The river originates in Turkey to the north and flows to the southwest of Aleppo, traversing both regime and rebel-held areas.

"This is not the first time that we have found the bodies of people executed, but so many, never," he says numbly.

All the victims look to be young men, some in their teens, wearing jeans, button-up shirts and sneakers.

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