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Syria

Dozens of young men found dead in Aleppo

Dozens of bodies are reported to have been found in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Pro-opposition activists said they appeared to have been killed with single gunshots to the head or neck.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 65 bodies had been found in the Quweig River, which separates the two districts of Aleppo. It said those killed were all men between the ages of 20 and 30. The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdel-Rahman told Germany's DPA news agency that his monitors had no indication who was behind the killings.

An officer with the rebel Free Syrian Army told the AFP news agency that the militia was still pulling bodies from the river, which is located in rebel-held territory.

"Until now we have recovered 68 bodies, some of them just teens," Captain Abu Sada said before accusing forces loyal to President Bashar Assad of being behind the killings.

"But there must be more than 100. There are still many in the water, and we are trying to recover them."

A senior government source accused rebels of carrying out the killings, saying some of the victims had previously been reported missing.

"They were kidnapped by terrorist groups, who some are accusing of being pro-regime, and executed last night in a park in Bustan al-Qasr under their control," the source told AFP. "Now these terrorist groups are creating a media campaign, showing the bodies being recovered from the Quweiq River in an area under their control.

Video posted online on YouTube showed a row of bodies lying along the banks of a river, many with their hands tied. The authenticity of the video or photos posted on line by activists could not be verified.

Human rights groups have accused both government forces and rebels of carrying out summary executions during the almost two-year-long conflict. It has claimed more than 60,000 lives and forced hundreds of thousands of others to flee their homes.

pfd/ipj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)