Allegedly Liwaa Attawhid, Aleppo's Unification Brigade, were responsible for the killing, and I've spoken to a number of activists to gather more information on the situation surrounding the executions.
According to activists, the men killed belonged to the Berri clan, a notorious Aleppo based shabiha, with some estimating the clan has around 5000 members. Activists allege the Berri clan were involved in various criminal activities, including drug dealing and arms dealing, as well as being used as militia by the Assad government, a role in which they are accused of rape, torture and murder. One of the men killed was the leader of the Berri clan, Zaino Berri, and his brother, Hussein Berri, is reportedly a member of the Syrian Parliament.
According to reports from activists the FSA captured the Berri clan's HQ in Al Neirab (the same location where a police station was captured today) after a fierce gun battle that left several FSA members dead, leading to the capture of Zaino Berri and other members of his clan, among other prisoners
This video in Arabic was recently posted showing the commander in charge of Berri explaining the circumstances of the execution
Today, the Barris killed one of the rebels in Al Marjah district. The FSA then entered the Barri's stronghold. They captured the clan’s leaders. They killed some of those who resisted, families and children were allowed to leave the neighbourhood.Update August 1st The Angry Arab blog also has a piece on the execution, with details of the religious affiliation of the Berri clan, details of their activity, and the reason for the execution.
I am sure that everyone in Aleppo, be pro-regime, anti-regime or those in the middle, are happy today with their demise.
Update August 1st Ivan Watson of CNN Tweeted the following
Spokesman for rebel Tawheed brigade claims responsibility for execution of 10 suspected members of Berri Shabiha yesterday in AleppoUpdate August 1st The Guardian has spoken to Mustafa al-Sheikh, head of FSA supreme military, who says this about the incident
Regarding the video of the shabiha killed by the FSA, as far as I know these shabiha are from the "Berri" clan in Aleppo. They have a long history of being pro-regime shabiha and they have been involved in a lot of killing in Aleppo.Update August 1st The Guardian has spoklen to Basheer al-Haji, "media speaker of the Tawheed ("Unity") Brigade in Aleppo"
The regime used to provide them with light weapons and knives and gather them in schools to go and launch their attacks against civilians. Just before they left one of the schools they were caught by the FSA and killed.
In this war in which we left alone to fight such a vicious regime, everything is possible and legitimate and as long as the international community keeps looking at Syria in such carelessness, you will see more of that and even worse.
We were in a truce with the Berri clan, which are shabiha clan. We asked them to stay at home and not to support any part of the fight but they did not comply to the truce.Activists THE_47th also Tweeted the following
We were attacking one of the police stations in the city and Berri clan began shooting against us from behind. They killed 15 members of the FSA. We were in big clashes with them and were able to kill 20 of them and arrest another 50.
Then we held a field trial for them. We have judges and lawyers who are in the opposition. They found that seven of the Berri clan were involved in killing and they decided to execute them. Others are kept for trial after the collapse of the regime.
We are keeping a lot of prisoners for trial after the collapse of the regime as long as their hands are clean of the Syrian people's blood, otherwise we kill them immediately.
Chiefs of Baggara, Berri & other pro Assad Tribes in Aleppo met this morning and announce arming themselves for vengeance.Update August 1st This video was Tweeted by J. David Goodman appearing to show the FSA inside Zaino Berri's home
I'm being told that among the tribes that net are Hasasne & Zeido. Together with Baggara & Berry, they have no less than 20k fighters.
I think Aleppo is going to witness a major war: FSA against Assad Forces & Arab tribes who want retribution for death of Zaido Berri.
Update August 1st J. David Goodman has put together a post on the New York Times covering the reaction to the execution and the story behind it. The Syrian also has an article on the execution in Arabic.
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