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Execution video draws criticism of rebels

Members of the Free Syrian Army chant slogans against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in, Aleppo as they celebrate one day after the Syrian defense minister was killed in an attack in Damascus. in Aleppo in Syria, July 19, 2012. UPI/Khaled Tallawy
Members of the Free Syrian Army chant slogans against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in, Aleppo as they celebrate one day after the Syrian defense minister was killed in an attack in Damascus. in Aleppo in Syria, July 19, 2012. UPI/Khaled Tallawy | License Photo

ALEPPO, Syria, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Human rights groups have condemned a video from Aleppo, Syria, apparently showing a rebel execution of loyalists to President Bashar Assad.

The video appeared on the Internet and appears to show members of a loyalist clan in an Aleppo neighborhood being killed, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

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In the video, apparent rebels led several prisoners identified as pro-government paramilitary fighters into a courtyard. The purported fighters shouted "God is great!" as the prisoners were lined against a wall. The fighters then opened fire with AK-47 rifles for more than 30 seconds.

Opposition leaders said those targeted belonged to the Berri clan, a family with close ties to the Syrian government, the Times said. Among those reportedly killed was the clan's leader, Zeino Berri, whom rebels accused of committing atrocities against civilians.

The executions drew condemnation of the rebel forces and several opposition groups publicly denounced the slayings.

"Such reprisals are never justified," Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch posted on Twitter.

Rights monitors have documented atrocities committed by both sides during the Syrian uprising that began with peaceful street demonstrations in March 2011.

Government troops and rebels have been fighting for control of Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

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Tens of thousands of Aleppo residents have fled the city, but aid groups said many people are trapped, the Times said. The organizations said they are concerned that a humanitarian disaster could arise if the combat and shelling spread in Syria's commercial hub.

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