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Thursday
Jun132013

Sectarian Massacre Reported in Syrian Village

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- There's more evidence that the conflict in Syria is turning into sectarian warfare, with reports of 30 Shiite Muslims killed Tuesday by rebels in the eastern village of Hatlah.

The charge of a massacre was made not only by the Syrian government but by opposition fighters and activists as well, who spoke of their powerlessness to stop extremists within their ranks.

A video posted by anti-government groups showed Sunni rebels in close concert with Islamic militants burning downing homes in Hatlah while shouting anti-Shiite slogans.

In an attempt to downplay the slaughter, opposition leaders claimed the dead included militia fighters on the side of President Bashar al-Assad's government who had attacked rebel positions the day before the assault on Hatlah.

Al-Assad is a member of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.  Most of those who oppose his regime are Sunnis.  The Assad government has received a boost from Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, who are also Shiite.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio