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23 slain 'torture victims' found near Syria's Idlib: NGO

Bodies of torture victims found handcuffed and blindfolded in Syrian city of Idlib, captured by Al-Assad's security forces earlier this week

AFP , Thursday 15 Mar 2012
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The bodies of 23 torture victims were found on Thursday near the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria that security forces captured earlier this week, a monitoring group said.

"Twenty-three bodies with marks of extreme torture were found near Mazraat Wadi Khaled, west of the city of Idlib," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in a statement.

The Britain-based group said the 23 blindfolded and handcuffed victims had been shot dead. It also reported that security forces on Thursday killed nine civilians, including four in a car, and four rebels across the province of Idlib.

The city of Idlib fell to government forces on Tuesday night, two weeks after the regime stormed the Baba Amr district of Homs city in central Syria, following a month-long blitz that activists said left hundreds dead.

Syrian activists have compiled a list of 114 civilians killed since security forces launched their assault on Idlib on March 10, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

Following the Baba Amr offensive, residents of nearby neighbourhoods reported finding the mutilated bodies of women and children. Activists posted video footage they said proved regime forces were to blame.

The government blamed "armed terrorist gangs."

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