Khan al-Assal massacre
|Khan al-Assal massacre|
|Part of the Syrian civil war|
|Location||Khan al-Assal, Aleppo, Syria|
|Date||22 July 2013|
|Deaths||51 soldiers (opposition claim)
123, majority civilian (government claim)
|Assailants||Al-Nusra Front and Ansar al-Khalifa Brigade|
The Khan al-Assal Massacre was committed during the Syrian civil war by Syrian rebels after the capture of Khan al-Assal, a town about 14 kilometers west of the city of Aleppo, by the armed opposition on 22 July 2013. Opposition activists attributed the massacre to the jihadist group Al-Nusra Front — an al-Qaeda associate — and the Ansar al-Khalifa Brigade, and said that 51 government soldiers who had surrendered had been executed. Government media said that Islamists including the al-Khalifa Brigade had killed 123 people, the majority of them civilians.
Rebels had for months tried to take Khan al-Assal, a strategically located town in the west of Aleppo province. It finally fell into rebel hands on 22 July, but fighting continued on its edges the next day, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). During the clashes, a captured T-55 tank was seen in use by the rebels.
At least 150 Syrian army soldiers died in the fighting with rebels for the control of the town in the northern Aleppo province.
Khan al-Assal had been the site of the Khan al-Assal chemical attack on 19 March 2013, which the government claimed was carried out by rebels, and the rebels claimed was carried out by the government. In an analysis for Iranian government-owned Press TV, Finian Cunningham said that the massacre was carried out by rebels with the aim to erase evidence for the chemical attack and eliminate witnesses.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an opposition group, 51 Syrian soldiers were executed by rebels after the fall of Khan al-Assal, while another hundred had died during the battle. The SOHR posted a video online which according to the New York Times "showed what appeared to be an execution ground, with dozens of lifeless bodies clumped against a wall pockmarked with bullet holes". Citing unnamed witnesses, the SOHR held members of the Al-Nusra Front and Ansar al-Khalifa Brigade responsible, saying that the fighters had executed most of the government soldiers who had surrendered. Videos posted by the Ansar al-Khalifa Brigade show some of the men killed in civilian clothing, and some of the bodies mutilated. The Al-Nusra Front confirmed its participation in the battle and said that 150 pro-government forces had been killed in it, but did not claim responsibility for the executions.
- Syria - Minister of Information Omran al-Zoubi stated that "terrorists who committed the Khan al-Assal massacre and the countries supporting them will be held accountable and pay dearly."
- New York Times, 27 July 2013, Soldiers’ Mass Execution Reported by Syria Group
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- New York Times, Video Shows Dozens of Soldiers Said to Be Executed by Rebels , accessed 7 September 2013
- "قتلى جنود الأسد بالمئات ردا على مجازر حمص وبانياس". YouTube. 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- Paraszczuk, Joanna (2013-07-27). "A Window On The World". EA WorldView. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- Al Jazeera, 2 August 2013, UN probes allegations of Syria rebel crimes
- "New Massacre in Khan al-Assal Kills 123, Many Are Reported Missing | nsnbc international". Nsnbc.me. Retrieved 2013-08-31.