Photos surfacing from the Syrian government retaking of east Aleppo show piles of dead bodies of alleged civilians, purportedly killed by retreating the Sunni rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra Front aka Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. The massacre occurred in the Sukari area of east Aleppo.
However, there has been some debate on social media as to whether the corpses of the shown men could be considered those of civilians. As Twitter user @BloodOntheSky points out, “I see a lot of combat fatigues in there.”
However, if the deceased men shown were POWs, they would be considered non-combatants.
Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, earlier known as the al-Nusra Front, was once Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate. However, they cut ties with the Osama bin Laden-founded group in July to garner more international support. But, according to The Middle East Eye, the split does not affect al-Nusra-al-Qaeda ideology and its desire to carry out attacks on the West.
Jabhat Fatah al-Sham is different than the Islamic State. The two groups oppose each other and openly fight each other despite having the same goal of establishing a caliphate. ISIS also was originally part of al-Qaeda.
However, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham has been most active in the Aleppo region.
According to The Guardian, “Aleppo was Syria’s most populous city when the civil war arrived in July 2012, but the conflict has taken a huge toll, with Russian airstrikes since September 2015 causing intense devastation.”
The Syrian government recently retook the eastern portion of the city that had been held by rebels. However, according to NPR, even with the city retaken by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, the war is far from over and the expelled rebels have amassed just outside the city limits to plot their revenge.
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