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US Human Rights Group: Syrian Army Using Human Shields

A US-based human rights group has accused the Syrian government army of using human shields in its war on rebels.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 3/25/2012, 1:51 PM

Funerals for Free Syrian Army soldiers; many were tortured
Funerals for Free Syrian Army soldiers; many were tortured
Reuters

A US-based human rights group has loudly accused the Syrian government army of using human shields in its war on rebels -- a strategy commonly used by the Hamas terrorist rulers in Gaza during rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israeli civilians, but rarely noted or condemned by human rights organizations abroad.

The Human Rights Watch international watchdog organization based in New York released a report Sunday saying Syrian soldiers and regime loyalists forced civilians to march in front of them as they advance against rebel forces earlier this month.

The report documented government troops advancing with residents to protect them in rebel strongholds where the uprising has held firm, such as the northern province of Idlib, near the border of Turkey.

“By using civilians as human shields, the Syrian army is showing blatant disregard for their safety. The Syrian army should immediately stop this abhorrent practice,” said Human Rights Watch emergency researcher Ole Solvang.

More than 8,000 civilians have died in the slaughter perpetrated by President Bashar al-Assad's troops in an effort to quell the anti-government uprising, many of them tortured, including hundreds of women and children.

International leaders have condemned the violence but unlike the intervention by NATO in Libya, none have stepped forward to offer opposition forces any military or other aid. The United Nations Security Council has not even formally condemned the violence because Russia and China have each time blocked the resolution.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met over the weekend during a nuclear summit in South Korea to discuss the possibility of extending “non-lethal” aid to the rebels, such as communications equipment and medical help.