Several sources last night reported a massacre in the town of Hatlah, close to Deir el-Zour city.
An armed organisation of heavily armed militants calling themselves the Mut’aa Brigade converged on the town with the objective of “cleansing” the town of “Raafidis” – a sectarian slur often used by extremists in reference to Shias.
At least sixty residents are said to have been massacred. A video seen by Syria Report shows a large group of men marching towards the village, heavily armed, carrying extremist flags and chanting sectarian slogans.
Another video seen by Syria Report, which will be made available in the near future, shows a Kuwaiti “activist” praising the killing of “the Shia” in Hatlah.
The incident was reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) which is anti-government. A writer for SyriaNews suggests that the SOHR is desperately communicating a distinction between Al-Qaeda inspired and aligned groups, and the Free Syrian Army.
The distinction is said to be communicated with the goal of forcing international and regional actors to “intervene”, portray Syria as a failed state and perhaps arm the “Free Syrian Army” in order to contain the Al-Qaeda aligned groups.
Making the distinction has been made virtually impossible as Jabhat al-Nusra and other organisations are increasingly seen to be at the forefront of the insurgency, commanding FSA units and even forming a merger with multiple groups in Aleppo. Since mid-2012, it has looked as though there is no distinction between the organisations, with the FSA being a front and umbrella organisation for militant organisations including those aligned to Al-Qaeda.
Last month, a Christian village near Homs was overrun and it’s population massacred.
The incident in Hatlah follows increasing outrages involving public executions, robbery, extortion and the harsh implementation of an extremist interpretation of Islamic law.
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