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Human Rights Watch says militants ruin Syria’s religious sites

Militants in Syria (file photo)

Militants in Syria (file photo)

Human Rights Watch says the militant groups in Syria have destroyed ‘religious sites’ in the northern part of the country.

The rights organization said on Wednesday that the militants appeared to have attacked religious locations following a four-day investigation in the provinces of Latakia and Idlib.

A Shia place of worship was destroyed by the militants in Idlib, while two Christian churches were looted in Latakia, the rights body stated.

Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed since chaos broke out in Syria nearly two years ago.

According to a UN report, militants from nearly 30 countries have been filtered into Syria to fight against the government. Most of the militants are extremist Salafists.

Human Rights Watch further stated that Syria’s opposition has failed to control the armed militants who are engaged in “looting and other criminal activities, like kidnappings.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said, “Syria will lose its rich cultural and religious diversity if armed groups do not respect places of worship.”

“Human Rights Watch researchers observed what appeared to be deliberate damage to the local Husseiniya, a Shia place of worship,” caused by the militants after they entered the village of Zarzour in December.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took a swipe at the Syrian opposition for its insistence on the removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power.

“As long as this irreconcilable position remains in place, nothing good can happen. Armed actions will continue and people will die,” Lavrov stated.

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