Syria rebels seize prison near Jordan, free inmates

Updated 15 May 2014
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Syria rebels seize prison near Jordan, free inmates

BEIRUT: Rebels seized a prison outside the city where Syria’s uprising began three years ago this month and freed dozens of inmates, activists said on Wednesday.
They took control of the Gharaz Central Prison on the outskirts of Daraa near Syria’s border with Jordan after fighting off President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Rebel supporters posted videos online showing what they said were fighters touring the prison grounds and greeting and embracing prisoners they had freed.
“God give life to the Free Syrian Army,” men chanted in one video, referring to anti-Assad rebel fighters. Another video showed four bodies of what were said to be pro-Assad soldiers. “This is the fate of all tyrants,” the man filming said.
Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said more than 300 people had been held in the prison but it was not clear how many had been freed on Wednesday, although videos showed dozens.
The prison had held inmates who were arrested at protests, he said. But it was not immediately clear how many of those freed were political prisoners.
Fighting for the prison had gone on for more than 50 days before rebels took it Wednesday morning, and six rebel fighters had been killed in the fighting yesterday, Abdulrahman said.
Elsewhere, insurgents have suffered a series of losses to Assad’s forces along the Lebanese border to the north.


UN rights forum condemns Israeli use of force at deadly Gaza protests

Updated 36 min 44 sec ago
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UN rights forum condemns Israeli use of force at deadly Gaza protests

  • The UN condemend Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force”
  • UN previously said that Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity

GENEVA: The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday condemned Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against civilian protesters in Gaza and called for perpetrators of all violations in the strip to face justice.
The Geneva forum adopted a resolution on accountability, brought by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), by a vote of 23 states in favor, 8 against with 15 abstentions.
European countries were divided. The United States does not participate, having quit the body last year over perceived anti-Israel bias.
The text was based on a report by a UN inquiry which said that Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests last year.