Syrian opposition: HRW report overlooked security efforts

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Armed opposition groups in Syria killed at least 190 civilians and seized over 200 as hostages during a military offensive that began in rural Latakia governorate on August 4, Human Rights Watch said. At least 67 of the victims were executed or unlawfully killed in the operation around pro-government Alawite villages, the group said.

Human Rights Watch said two opposition groups that took part in the offensive, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, are holding hostages, mostly women and children. The report's findings strongly suggest that the killings, hostage taking, and other abuses rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said.

The Syrian Coalition said in a statement that the “accountability will not be of only regime forces but also of all those who claim to be fighting under the banner of the revolution.”

The Syrian Coalition also said it rejects “any breach of international humanitarian laws, regardless of who commits the violation, and stress that they will confront all reports stating human rights have been violated.”

The Syrian Coalition added that the report overlooked “the tireless and persistent efforts of its offices in collaboration with the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Free Syrian Army and the local councils to establish security and rule of law in the liberated areas, in which the infrastructure has been destroyed by Assad and left with no institutions to manage internal affairs.”

Assad destroyed institutions to create chaos and lawlessness in liberated areas, the Syrian Coalition said, adding that it is organizing security services in liberated areas to prevent any breach of conduct by impostors sent by the regime to destroy the revolution.