Syria ‘executes 24 fire-setters’

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Smoke and flames engulfed the Jamla area in May 2013 when wildfires were first reported Syria has executed 24 people accused of setting fire to forest fires after clashes…

Syria 'executes 24 fire-setters'

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Smoke and flames engulfed the Jamla area in May 2013 when wildfires were first reported

Syria has executed 24 people accused of setting fire to forest fires after clashes between rebels and government forces, activists say.

Human rights lawyer Mustafa Osso told Reuters that the trials were held in secret, as part of a government crackdown on those convicted in a newly-created criminal court.

Several hundred people have been executed since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, according to rights groups.

At least 47 people were executed for criticising President Bashar al-Assad in public.

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Mr Osso, from the Syrian Organization for Human Rights, said the 24 had been convicted on terrorism charges after they appeared in front of the criminal court.

The latest executions take the total to 141, he added.

The government has accused opposition groups of starting forest fires in May 2013, the height of an uprising against President Assad.

Human rights groups have said there is insufficient evidence of any criminal wrongdoing, and no independent legal system exists inside Syria.

Syria’s conflict has killed more than 360,000 people, according to the UN.

It is now a complex, multi-sided civil war with nearly every fighting group having broken with the regime.

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