Two men, identified as Amer A. and Basel O., have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of belonging to extremist groups and committing war crimes. The arrests were made on Wednesday by federal prosecutors. Amer A. is suspected of involvement in a 2013 attack in eastern Syria, where over 60 Shiite fighters and civilians were killed. He is accused of forming and leading the armed rebel group Liwa Jund al Rahman, also known as the Brigade of the Soldiers of the Merciful God. Amer A. is further charged with war crimes related to forced displacement and membership in the Islamic State group.
The war crimes charges against Amer A. stem from a June 2013 attack on Hatla in Syria’s Deir el-Zour province, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 60 Shiite residents. Prosecutors allege that Amer A.’s group, Liwa Jund al Rahman, carried out the attack in collaboration with other jihadi groups. Survivors of the attack were forcibly displaced, leading to the eradication of Shiite presence in Hatla.
Prosecutors state that Amer A. joined the Islamic State group in July 2014, placing his group under its command. Basel O., on the other hand, assumed a prominent military position within his group by late 2013. He commanded units of the organization in battles against Syrian government forces in December 2013 and April 2014, particularly at Deir el-Zour’s military airfield.
Both suspects have been ordered to be held in custody pending a potential indictment. Germany’s application of the rule of “universal jurisdiction” allows for the prosecution of serious crimes committed abroad. This approach has previously led to convictions of individuals involved in crimes against humanity and war crimes.