BEIRUT: Syrian rebels killed 15 members of the security forces in an ambush today, a monitoring group said, as a human rights organisation accused Damascus of war crimes in last month’s run-up to a UN-brokered truce.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been tracking the 14-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, said two rebel militiamen also died in clashes that followed the ambush in the northern province of Aleppo.
The UN says Syrian forces have killed 9,000 people in a violent crackdown on mass protests that started against Assad in March 2011. The initially peaceful demonstrations which have since turned into a guerrilla insurgency.
Damascus says 2,600 personnel have been killed by “armed terrorists”. Since a UN-backed ceasefire came into effect on April 12, it has cited rebel assaults as justification of its right to respond to “any violation or attack”. The UN now has 30 blue-helmeted monitors inside the nation of 23 million people, and this week accused both pro- and anti-Assad forces of violating the three-week-old truce.