$1.1b. in aid pledged to Syria

DAMASCUS — More than $1.1 billion has been pledged to help civilians affected by the conflict in Syria at a conference of international donors, the UN says.

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah opened the meeting with a donation of $300 million, which was matched by the UAE and, reportedly, Saudi Arabia.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meanwhile appealed to all sides to stop fighting “in the name of humanity”.

As he spoke, Syrian state media blamed a rebel group for a massacre in Aleppo.

The bodies of more than 70 men and teenaged boys were found on Tuesday on the banks of the River Quwaiq in the second city’s rebel-held western district of Bustan al-Qasr.

Summarily executed

Most of the dead had their hands tied behind their backs and gunshot wounds to their heads, suggesting they were executed summarily.

Today, the state news agency Sana reported that the families of the victims had “identified a number of the killed, stressing that the al-Nusra Front abducted them because of their refusal to co-operate”.

Sana’s reporter said the water level in the river was too low to carry the bodies any distance suggesting they had been killed in Bustan al-Qasr.

However, locals said several of those killed were from rebel-held districts and had disappeared after crossing into those under government control. Some had been detained by security forces, they added.

The main opposition alliance, the National Coalition, called for an investigation and warned that “ongoing global inaction towards human rights violations encourages the killers to continue their crimes”. (BBC)

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