Syrian rebels have attacked a village in the countrys east,killing at least 60 Shias,mostly pro-government fighters,activists said Wednesday. A Syrian government official denounced the attack,saying it was a massacre of civilians.
An activist based in Deir el-Zour,however,said the attack was in retaliation for an attack Monday by Shias from Hatla that killed four rebels.
The killings in Hatla village in the eastern Deir el-Zour province,highlight the sectarian nature of Syrias conflict that has killed more than 80,000 people. Most rebels are from the Sunni majority,while Assad has retained support among minorities,including his own Alawite sect,an offshoot of Shia Islam,along with Christians and Shias.
Thousands of rebels took part in the attack on Hatla and at least 10 of them were killed.
The fighting came a week after Syrian troops,backed by Lebanons Shia militia Hezbollah,captured the strategic town of Qusair near the Lebanese border after three weeks of battles that killed dozens.