The Syrian opposition has accused government forces of having executed 72 people and burned their bodies in a village near the embattled northern city of Aleppo.
President Bashar al-Assad’s “terrorist regime executed 72 people after a raid on Malkiyeh village near the town of Sfeira in the east of Aleppo province,” the National Coalition charged in a statement issued Thursday.
It said at least 49 of the bodies had been identified after the killings carried out on Monday.
“These repeated massacres carried out by the regime’s death squads show a criminal methodology clearly aimed at sowing terror and hatred between Syrians,” the country’s main opposition group said.
The Aleppo Press Centre, run by a network of anti-regime activists, said children, women and elderly people were among the victims, who it said were targeted on charges of having collaborated with rebel fighters.
“Cases of rape and torture were recorded and houses burnt down,” it said, giving the names of 49 people including seven children aged between eight months and 12 years.
“Twenty-three other people have not been identified because their bodies were too badly burnt,” it said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights spoke of reports of “dozens of civilians killed in Malkiyeh” after a government raid aimed at securing access for reinforcements to Aleppo international airport.
The Britain-based Observatory called for the United Nations to investigate the case, for which there was no independent confirmation.