BEIRUT -- The bodies of at least 65 people, some with hands tied behind their backs, were found Tuesday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. The government and rebels trying to overthrow it blamed each other for the latest mass killing.
The bodies, almost all of men in their 20s and 30s, were discovered in the contested neighborhood of Bustan al-Qasr, said the director of the Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul-Rahman. Intense clashes between rebels and government troops have raged in the district since opposition forces launched an offensive on Aleppo in July.
Abdul-Rahman said the identities of the dead were unknown, and it was not clear who was behind the killings or when they occurred. A government official told The Associated Press in Damascus that the dead were residents of Bustan al-Qasr who were kidnapped and killed.
Also yesterday, a bomb wounded former legislator and once governor of the central province of Hama, Abdul-Razzak Qtini, as he was in his car, the Observatory and a neighbor of Qtini said. Qtini was said to be receiving treatment in a Damascus hospital.
Syrian state TV said the Aleppo victims were killed by members of Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida-linked group that the Obama administration has labeled a terrorist organization. It said the men were killed after they demanded that members of the group leave their areas.
Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, put the number of bodies found at 80. It blamed government forces for the killing.
The Observatory said 160 people were killed Tuesday in Syria. The numbers included the bodies of the men found in Aleppo.