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    Rebel fighters carry their weapons as they take positions in the town of Kafr Nabudah, in Hama province, Syria, on which forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are carrying out offensives to take control of the town, October 11, 2015

    Syrian Rebels Cage Alawites as Human Shield Against Airstrikes – Reports

    © REUTERS / Ammar Abdullah
    Middle East
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    A militant rebel group operating close to Damascus has reportedly kidnapped Syrian Alawite civilians to use as human shields against air strikes, by publicly keeping them captive in metal cages.

    A militant group opposed to the Syrian government has taken Alawite civilians and government soldiers hostage in cages to protect themselves against air strikes, according to reports from Ghouta, an area close to Damascus.

    Photographs show the kidnapped hostages trapped in cages and transported to public places.

    Some sources identified the militants as Jaish al-Islam, a powerful opposition group fighting government forces close to Damascus.

    The Syrian Sham news network recorded footage of the militants taking caged prisoners through the streets in eastern Ghouta, with the intention of using them as human shields against airstrikes from Syrian government forces, and the Russian air force.   

    Sham reported that 100 cages with about seven people in each were being taken to public areas such as marketplaces in eastern Ghouta, from where militants fire rockets into Damascus.


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