Syria has called on the U.N. to take action over crimes committed by foreign-backed militants in the country, following the massacre of at least 123 people in a key town in the northern Aleppo province.
On Saturday, the official Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, reported that armed terrorist groups had killed at least 123 people, mostly civilians, but including military personnel, during an attack last week on Khan al-Assal, west of Aleppo city.
The opposition-aligned Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, reported that most of those killed were from the Syrian regime forces.
The Observatory said that 50 of those killed were executed by rebels after the fall of Khan al-Assal on Monday, while the rest died fighting for the regime’s last bastion in the west of Aleppo province.
Rebels had for months tried to take the strategically located town.
It finally fell into rebel hands on Monday but fighting continued on its perimeters the following day, said the Observatory.
In separate letters to the U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, the Security Council and the U.N. Human Rights Council, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said that the massacre by the terrorists was proof that certain states neighboring Syria are supporting armed terrorist groups inside the country, SANA reported.
The letters also noted that the armed terrorist group, the Ansar al-Khalifa Brigade, had admitted responsibility for the killings in Khan al-Assal.
On the heels of the huge defeat at Khan al-Assal, President Bashar Assad mobilized forces Saturday at all checkpoints into the capital Damascus. A day earlier the Free Syrian Army rebel forces reported gains in east Damascus, according to an activist speaking to the Zaman al-Wasl opposition news website.
Regime checkpoints implemented thorough inspections of residents' identity cards and their cars.
Two days ago, more than 24 opposition military formations in the Eastern Ghouta region issued a statement announcing the unification of brigades and battalions on the Eastern Front to enter Damascus.
The first operations were conducted in the neighborhood of Jobar, near the Abbasyeen garages. Fierce clashes also erupted in Qaboun and Barzeh after bombardment by the Assad regime forces. The southern neighborhoods of the capital were bombarded by regime mortars and artillery.
The British-based Observatory said that clashes continued in the Maamel area north of Jobar, where rebels have reportedly surrounded the conscription center.
The Observatory said regime forces conducted a raid and arrest campaign in the Sakhna Square and the Shaikh Saad neighborhood in Mazzeh.