BEIRUT – An al-Qaida-linked rebel group says it killed at least 30 members of President Bashar Assad's Alawite sect during an attack on three villages in central Syria last week.
Jabhat al-Nusra said in a statement posted online that its fighters attacked the predominantly Alawite villages of Maksar al-Hasan, Jab al-Jarrah and al-Massoudiyeh in Homs province on Tuesday. It said it seized Maksar al-Hasan for 10 hours before being forced to withdraw.
The group says it killed more than 30 Alawites and seized 10 Russian-made weapons, ammunition, cars and other equipment in the assault.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said late Sunday that activists have confirmed the death of 22 villagers from Maksar al-Hasan.
The killings underscore the dark sectarian overtones of Syria's civil war.