The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that as of mid-February, the Assad regime forces have committed at least 50 massacres with purely sectarian nature since the beginning of the revolution in March 2011. The Network said that these massacres amounted to “sectarian cleansing.”
The monitoring group pointed out that the massacres claimed the lives of no fewer than 3,028 people, including 531 children and 472 women. It noted that the Assad regime recruited paramilitary groups which massacred civilians using the most horrible methods and primitive weapons. Those militias often published videos and pictures showing mutilated bodies carrying signs of stabbings with knives as well as women stripped of their clothes.
In a new report released on Wednesday, the Network pointed out these massacres reached their peak in the first two years of the Syrian revolution, adding that the Assad regime pursued polices specifically aimed at fueling the sectarian strife.
According to the SNHR’s report, Homs bore the brunt of the sectarian killings, with 22 massacres recorded in the province claiming the lives of about 1,040 people, including 209 children and 200 women. It indicated that eight massacres took place in each of the provinces of Aleppo and Hama, with 416 people executed in Aleppo and 197 in Hama.
The Network noted that depicting the conflict in Syria as purely sectarian serves the Assad regime only as such designation makes the parties to the conflict equally responsible for the atrocities taking place, which is contrary to the truth. It stressed that the conflict began as a popular uprising against a gangster regime that responded with all methods of killings and a brutal crackdown.
The Syrian Coalition said that the Assad regime has sought hard to make the conflict appear as a sectarian one with the aim of absolving itself of all responsibility for the massacres against civilians and disrupting the political process on the pretext of fighting terrorism. The Coalition called upon the international community to punish perpetrators of war crimes in Syria by referring them to the International Criminal Court. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)