Rebels must show humanity to captured soldiers

Robert C. Johnston.


IT is tragic to hear that captured pro-Assad men may have been summarily executed by Syrian rebel forces.

Syrian Free Army soldiers capture a regime police station

Syrian Free Army soldiers capture a regime police station

If the Syrian rebellion wishes to hold the moral high-ground in the eyes of their countrymen and in the international community – who currently supports their cause – they must vigorously distance themselves from extremists and publicly order that all captured regime forces are to be treated with the same rights that should be afforded to any prisoner of war.

If there are war criminals among captured regime forces, they should be tried in due process – but the same goes for rebel soldiers. If the rebels seek to recreate a peaceful, free Syria, they can start by showing humanity to soldiers whose only mistake may have been to be on the wrong side.

Moreover, mercy is a wise strategic move for the Free Syrian Army – regime forces will be less likely to fight to the death if they know they are not to be executed upon surrender.

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