But while the military's withdrawal from Saraqeb may be a strategic victory for the rebels, the fighting in the region also appears to have entailed war crimes committed by the opposition. A newly posted video on YouTube shows disturbing footage of what seems to be several rebel soldiers executing unarmed and wounded regime captives. Reuters reports that the executed men were soldiers captured during rebel attacks on three checkpoints around Saraqeb before the withdrawal.
The video footage showed a group of petrified men, some bleeding, lying on the ground as rebels walked around, kicking and stamping on their captives.
One of the captured men says: "I swear I didn't shoot anyone" to which a rebel responds: "Shut up you animal ... Gather them for me." Then the men are shot dead.
Reuters could not independently verify the footage.
Mr. Abdelrahman said the attacks resulted in 28 soldiers killed, including those executed in the video. He also said the killers in the video were members of the Al Qaeda-inspired Jabhat al-Nusra rebel group.
Ann Harrison of Amnesty International told The New York Times that the footage "depicts a potential war crime in progress, and demonstrates an utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the armed group in question." A United Nations Human Rights Council spokesman made similar comments when shown the video, reports Reuters.