They were dragged out to be executed in a small, dusty courtyard in blazing sunlight. The victims were half-naked, dazed, their underwear soaked in blood, their legs bleeding from torture inflicted earlier. The expectant crowd, some armed with guns, others holding up mobile phones to take what were presumably trophy photos, were baying for execution.
“God is greatest,” rang out the calls among the blood-lusting spectators. They also shouted slogans in support of the Free Syrian Army. This was summary “justice” by the armed opposition groups that the Western governments are striving to empower in “liberated” Syria.
New video footage  obtained by Agence France Presse shows a gruesome scene of cold-blooded murder of unarmed Syrians in Aleppo, the northwestern commercial city. It provides a glimpse of the Jihadi armed groups in Syria that are being funded, trained and directed by Washington, London, Paris and Berlin along with their Turkish, Israeli and Arab allies. These are the “heroic” groups that the Western political leaders and media have championed for the past 17 months as a “pro-democracy movement” against the “dastardly” government of Bashar Al Assad.
Placed against a wall and kneeling, the victims were blasted at close range with automatic weapons. As the crowds parted, the video shows naked bodies slumped in a soiled heap. In another clip of the same execution courtyard, a group of cowering people is similarly riddled with automatic fire. After the hail of bullets subsides, a pile of mangled corpses is displayed, with grotesque satisfaction.
The identities of the victims are reported as members of the Al Berri family or tribe from Aleppo. One of the elders executed is named as Hassan Berri Bin Zino. Reuters and other news agencies describe the victims as belonging to “pro-Assad militias”, which had been involved, allegedly, in earlier attacks on the opposition groups. This affiliation to pro-Assad militia has yet to verified, but the way the alleged affiliation is prominently reported is made to sound like a mitigating factor in what is premeditated murder by Western-backed killers.
It could very well turn out that the victims were just ordinary citizens of Aleppo, Syria’s second city where Western-backed mercenaries were directed to attack last week following their defeat and routing from the capital Damascus by Syrian armed forces.
Western-sponsored mercenaries have carried out numerous massacres and atrocities against civilians in recent months in a calculated bid to terrorise the general population into spurning the Assad government. The reign of terror is also being distorted in the Western media as being instigated by the Assad forces, thereby justifying Western sanctions and a NATO military intervention, as in Libya, in an unspoken campaign for regime change.
At the end of May, over 100 people, including women and children, were massacred in the village of Houla. Initially, that mass killing was blamed on the Assad forces, but subsequently it was shown that the victims were actually supporters of the government and that the slayings were in fact the grisly work of Western-backed Jihadi mercenaries, most of whom have infiltrated Syria from other countries, such as Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. A similar atrocity occurred the first week of June in the village of Qubair – again shown later to be the work of the Western-backed Jihadists, who are also known to be linked to Al Qaeda and other Western intelligence proxies, such as Blackwater (Xe) mercenaries.
Last month, in the village of Tremseh, Western governments and media again leapt, with suspiciously unseemly haste, to accuse the Assad regime of committing another massacre. It turned out that most of the victims were members of armed groups that were terrorizing the civilian residents who had called in the army for rescue.
In the latest atrocity in Aleppo, it may transpire that the victims are just ordinary citizens who were lynched for the only reason that they did not support the campaign of terror being perpetrated against their country – a macabre object lesson for the rest of society to take note of if they do not want to suffer the same gruesome fate.
Such barbarity is in keeping with the brutality of the so-called rebel groups that have been terrorizing Syrian society at large. These groups have killed hundreds with no-warning car bombs in urban areas since the beginning of this year. They have kidnapped family members for ransoms, only to hand over mutilated corpses – cruelly after they had been paid off. These groups have fired on civilians from sniper positions on rooftops and on the minarets of mosques. They have machine-gunned busloads of pilgrims; they have derailed passenger trains.
Even if the victims of this execution in Aleppo turn out to be members of pro-Assad militia, is this the kind of justice that will prevail in Syria if Western-backed regime change succeeds? Is this the Western-style “liberation” awaiting the people of Syria that the people of Libya have “enjoyed” since NATO turned that country into lawless, tribal charnel house?
Meanwhile, Amnesty International, sounding like a choirboy witnessing an orgy, has condemned the Syrian armed forces for a “brutal crackdown in Aleppo”. It stated: “The current onslaught on the city of Aleppo – which puts civilians even more at grave risk – is a predictable development which follows the disturbing pattern of abuses by state forces across the country.”
Contrary to what Amnesty asserts, several reports say that the Syrian state security forces have gone to careful lengths to avoid civilian casualties even though the foreign-backed armed groups have been using civilians in their homes as human shields.
It would be interesting to see how Amnesty would report the scenario where American or British armed forces were hunting down Syrian-backed mercenaries run amok in Washington or London.
Other video footage emerged in recent days from Syrian authorities showing corpses said to belong to armed groups that were gunned down by state forces. The scenes of bloodied corpses were grim. But the victims appeared to be armed fighters in possession of heavy weaponry.
Whether the latest killings in Aleppo by the so-called Syrian Free Army were some form of revenge is not yet clear. But the two circumstances are substantially different. One is cold-blooded murder of unarmed civilians; the other is the result of armed action against mercenaries who are engaging in a criminal conspiracy against a society.
Another development is the attempt by Western media to portray the Jihadist and Al Qaeda groups as a distinct, minor appendage to the Free Syrian Army – a rogue element. What the video of the killings in Aleppo clearly confirms, however, is that such a distinction is more a figment of Western media imagination. The truth is that the Western governments, their intelligence and professional killers along with their Turk, Arab and Israeli allies have opened a terrorist Pandoro’s Box in Syria. And no amount of hairsplitting can close the lid on that heinous crime of aggression.
Finian Cunningham is Globalresearch’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent