It's Never a Good Idea to Put Your Torture Victims on YouTube

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Much of the news out of Syria has been the cruelty of Bashar al-Assad's forces in their attacks against his own people, but now, thanks in part to YouTube videos, Human Rights Watch has found out that opposition forces are also capable of torture and executions of their own. It's a change in tone to how opposition fighters are usually cast, and it's a problematic change for those looking to throw their support behind opposition forces. "The Syrian government's brutal tactics cannot justify abuses by armed opposition groups," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in an open letter to dissident groups that was obtained by Reuters."Opposition leaders should make it clear to their followers that they must not torture, kidnap or execute under any circumstances."

Reuters notes that the human rights advocacy group found dozens of videos of Syrian forces and their alleged supporters confessing to crimes under duress. Doing a quick search, we found this video of badly bruised, and swollen "Assad Regime Death Squad Members" confessing to crimes against civilians. (The videos Reuters mentions sound more graphic). Granted, it's YouTube and we should rightfully be suspicious of the authenticity of many videos on there, but it is something of a twist to see the site used in this way. In the past, YouTube has helped document transgressions from dictators and regimes. Now it's capturing cruelty on all sides.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.