The Free Syrian Army, which groups the opposition fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, has issued new orders forbidding the torture and killing of prisoners following criticism by UN investigators.
In what was described as a new internal charter, read out by an opposition commander in a video posted on the Internet, the organization also forbade its members from belonging to political or religious factions and committed them to refraining from engaging in politics in a post-Assad state.
Free Syrian Army troops must, Col. Qassem Saadeldin said, “implement principles of international law which forbid harming civilians ... and torturing or killing captured combatants.”
UN investigators said in a report last week that opposition had committed war crimes, including executions, in Syria, albeit on a smaller scale than those by the army and security forces.
Saadeldin, reading from the charter, also said: “Members of the Free Syrian Army are forbidden from belonging to any political or religious party and from interfering in the political process after the Assad regime is brought down.”
Assad's opponents say they want to build a representative democracy. Many are concerned that religious sectarianism and rival radical agendas could condemn Syria to continued crisis even if they succeed in ousting the Assad administration.