FERNANDE VAN TETS
London Independent 
June 13, 2013
Up to sixty Shia Muslims have been killed in an attack by opposition fighters in the eastern Syrian town of Hatla. A video posted online on Tuesday, entitled “The storming and cleansing of Hatla”, showed fighters waving the black Salafi flag and celebrating.
“We have raised the banner ‘There is no God but God’ above the houses of the apostate rejectionists, the Shia,” the voice of the cameraman says.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that thousands of rebels participated in the killings, although the footage of the attacks pictured just a handful of fighters. The death toll could not be independently verified.
Activists denied that the killings were sectarian in nature, claiming instead that they were a response to an attack on a Free Syrian Army checkpoint by 30 armed villagers from Hatla. The activists claim the opposition fighters were incited by the Assad regime’s decision to arm the population of Hatla, one of the only Shia villages in an area that has been firmly under rebel control for more than a year.