In a new report, Amnesty International documents war crimes by US-backed groups.
Ahrar al-Sham. Secretary of State Kerry just said that this group is a “subgroup” of both ISIS and Al Nusra (Al Nusra is Al Qaeda). Ahrar al-Sham is supported by close Western allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey (the latter is a NATO member).
The Amnesty report documents that Ahrar al-Sham:
- Kidnapped children and placed them for long periods of time in solitary confinement, leading to hallucinations
- Kidnapped a media activist for criticizing the extremist rebel group on Facebook and accusing it of corruption (he is still detained)
- Confiscated the homes and stolen the belongings of Christians
- Destroyed churches
- Arrested and interrogated a woman just released by government forces for not wearing a veil, and repeatedly threatened to conduct a virginity test
Nour al-Din al-Zenki. This is a CIA-approved rebel group that has received TOW anti-tank missiles.
The Amnesty report documents that Nour al-Din al-Zenki:
- Tortured journalists, humanitarian workers and media activists
- For example, one humanitarian worker was abducted and tortured by for complaining about the misuse of funds in a hospital in Aleppo
- Another media activist was kidnapped for criticizing “the unjust rule of some the armed groups [and issues] such as corruption” on Facebook. He said he heard people being tortured in other rooms while he was abducted
- Abducted Christians
16th Division. This group is backed by the U.S.
The Amnesty report documents that the 16th Division:
- Tortured detainees
- For example, an Arab man drove his female Kurdish neighbor to a dentist appointment in Aleppo. She was kidnapped at a checkpoint by the 16th Division. The woman’s son went looking for her, and he disappeared as well
The Levant Front coalition. The Carnegie Endowment states that most of the rebel groups in the Levant Front coalition likely receive support from the Military Operations Center, a Turkey-based rebel facility that the U.S. helps operate with its allies.
The Amnesty report documents that the Levant Front:
- Has carried out numerous summary killings through its Shria courts. Some have been “execution-style killings in front of crowds.”
- The “Supreme Judicial Council” run by the Levant Front admitted to Amnesty that the punishment for apostasy – i.e. failing to conform to fundamentalist Islamic beliefs or practices – is execution. “Death sentences are carried out in the detention center according to Shari’a principles,” the deputy director said
- Kidnapped people for complaining about corruption