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The United Nations says a Shi’ite militia that fought alongside the Iraqi military in Fallujah may have seized some 900 civilian men and boys and killed nearly 50.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said on July 5 that the civilians were held last month during the battle to oust Islamic State (IS) militants from the Sunni city.

In a statement, Hussein said the fate of nearly 900 civilians from the village of Saqlawiya was still unknown.

"There is a list of the names of 643 missing men and boys, as well as of 49 others believed to have been summarily executed or tortured to death while in the initial custody of Kataaib Hizballah," he said.

"Tribal leaders believe there are around 200 more unaccounted for, whose names have not yet been collected," Hussein added.

He also said there were reports of maltreatment, including denial of food and water, beating, torture, and even the beheading of some detainees.

Fallujah, some 50 kilometers west of Baghdad, was recaptured from the IS group in late June.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

Amnesty International charged that rebel groups backed by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have been responsible for abductions, torture, and summary killings in Syria.

The London-based rights group on July 5 documented 24 kidnappings by armed groups in Aleppo and Idlib provinces between 2012 and 2016.

Victims included peace activists, children, Kurds, Christians, and other minorities targeted solely because of their religion, Amnesty said, with some groups using the same forms of torture practiced by President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Rebel groups cited as committing the abuses included the Nour al-Din Zanki Movement, the Levant Front, the 16th Division, and hardline Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham.

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War said that the first three were current or former recipients of U.S. support.

"While some civilians in areas controlled by armed opposition groups may at first have welcomed an escape from brutal Syrian government rule, hopes that these armed groups would respect rights have faded as they have increasingly taken the law into their own hands and committed serious abuses," said Amnesty's Philip Luther.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa

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