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Syria Rebels Sign Battlefield Code Of Conduct

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SYRIA REBELS CODE OF CONDUCT
In this Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 photo, a Free Syrian Army soldier fires his weapon during clashes with Syrian government forces in Saladin neighborhood, in Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Alberto Prieto) | AP


BEIRUT, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Some prominent Syrian rebel fighters have signed a 'code of conduct' committing them to observe human rights in their battle to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, a week after video footage showed rebels executing pro-Assad militiamen in Aleppo.

The code, which activists said was signed by leaders of several rebel brigades, included pledges not to rape, torture or kill captives.

Free Syrian Army rebels will "respect human rights in accordance with our legal principles, our tolerant religious principles and the international laws governing human rights," it said.

Any soldier or Assad supporter captured by the rebels should be treated in accordance with laws governing prisoners of war.

"I pledge not to practice any form of torture, rape, mutilation or degradation. I will observe prisoners' rights and will not exercise any of the above practices in order to abstain confessions," the rebel code said.

Rights groups have accused Assad's forces of committing violations including torture and killing of captives. But last week footage emerged showing rebels executing four suspected "Shabbiha" militiamen, loyal to Assad, in Aleppo, with fighters gloating over the bodies in a police station overrun by rebels.

The Aleppo-based Tawheed brigade, believed to have captured the men who were shot dead in Aleppo last week, was not on the list of signatories, which included fighters from Deraa, Deir al-Zor, Sweida, Hama and Homs.

The leader of one of the brigades confirmed to Reuters he had signed the accord, but said he did not consider the commitments in the code to be binding.

Another rebel said his brigade refused to sign the conduct because they had reservations over some of its articles. He refused to specify.

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lebanon Hussein Ali Omar, 60, one of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims that Syrian rebels have been holding for three months in Syria, hugs his mother, right, upon arrival at his house in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, 2012. Syrian rebels freed Omar on Saturday in a move aimed at easing cross-border tensions after a wave of abductions of Syrian citizens in Lebanon. The Shiite pilgrims were abducted May 22 after crossing into Syria from Turkey on their way to Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)


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France24 correspondents Matthieu Mabin and Sofia Amara report from the front lines of a rebel offensive against the Syrian army in Damascus.

Watch the exclusive report in the video below.

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syria This image made from video and released by Shaam News Network and accessed Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, purports to show the funeral of children in Daraya, near Damascus, Syria. Syrian troops backed by tanks and helicopters broke into a Damascus suburb on Thursday following two days of shelling and intense clashes as part of a widening offensive by President Bashar Assad's forces to seize control of parts of the capital and surrounding areas from rebel fighters, activists said. At least 15 people were killed in the offensive on Daraya, only a few miles (kilometers) southwest of Damascus. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network SNN via AP video)


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Clashes between Assad supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime killed two people in Lebanon on Friday, the Associated Press reports. 17 people were injured.

The AP gives more context:

Syria was in virtual control of its smaller neighbor for many years, posting tens of thousands of troops in Lebanon, before withdrawing under pressure in 2005. Even without soldiers on the ground, Syria remains influential, and its civil war has stirred longstanding tensions that have lain under Lebanon's surface.

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lebanon A Sunni gunman fires a gun during clashes that erupted between pro and anti-Syrian regime gunmen in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. The latest round of fighting first erupted on Monday in northern Lebanon and at least 15 have been killed in Tripoli this week and more than 100 have been wounded in fighting that is a spillover from Syria's civil war. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)


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@ KenRoth : UN reports 200,000 #Syria refugees, 30,000 in past week alone. Many more internally displaced not counted. http://t.co/BaM6u59j

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syria Syrian boy Musataf Alhafiz, 11, who fled his home with his family due to fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels, carries his brother Saif, 9 months, while he and others take refuge at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey, near the Syrian town of Azaz, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. Thousands of Syrians who have been displaced by the country's civil war are struggling to find safe shelter while shelling and airstrikes by government forces continue. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)


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Helicopter gunships shelled Damascus on Wednesday as Syrian security forces intensified their assault on the capital. Activists report that at least 47 people were killed.

"The whole of Damascus is shaking with the sound of shelling," a woman in the neighborhood of Kfar Souseh told Reuters.

Read more on HuffPost World.

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@ jenanmoussa : Graphic. We saw in a mosque in #Syria these 4 children staring at dead body. Pic by @HaraldDoornbos: http://t.co/lgq8IAmO #warsucks @akhbar

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lebanon Lebanese commandos ride in an armored personnel carrier in preparation to enter the area of clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime, in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. The civil war in Syria is affecting its fragile, tiny neighbor Lebanon in countless ways and has already spilled over into sectarian street clashes, kidnappings and general government paralysis.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)


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Activists say that Syrian security forces swept through two districts in Damascus on Wednesday, killing at least 31 suspected opposition fighters. The Associated Press reports that the army may have been targeting rebel teams that had been using the Nahr Eishah and Kfar Soussa neighborhoods to shell a nearby military airport.

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@ AP : Russia says Western powers are "openly instigating" opposition groups in Syria: http://t.co/Il6rHsxr -SC

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