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Rights group slams Syria rebels for ‘human shields’

Published: Updated:

Human Rights Watch has accused Syrian rebel groups outside Damascus of war crimes after they placed hostages including civilians in cages for use as “human shields” to deter government strikes.

Video posted over the weekend showed dozens of captives, among them soldiers and civilians, in cages being transported to different parts of the Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the powerful Jaish al-Islam group had placed the caged captives in public squares to deter government bombing.

Human Rights Watch said the practice “constitutes hostage-taking and an outrage against their personal dignity, which are both war crimes.”

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