News Wrap: Human rights group says Syrian rebels killed, kidnapped civilians

BY newsdesk  October 11, 2013 at 8:52 PM EDT

In our news wrap Friday, rebels in Syria are being accused of killing at least 190 civilians and kidnapping hundreds of others in attacks on Aug. 4. Human Rights Watch says Islamist groups led the attacks. Also, Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan to revive security talks with President Karzai.

MP3 Link JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news, Wall Street racked up a second day of big gains on hopes for a settlement in Washington. The Dow Jones industrial average added 111 points to close at 152,37. The Nasdaq rose 31 points to close near 3,792. For the week, the Dow gained 1 percent; the Nasdaq fell about half-a-percent.

The agency working to destroy chemical weapons in Syria won the Nobel Peace Prize today. The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It had been widely speculated the prize might go to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls. We will have more on the Peace Prize right after the news summary.

Human Rights Watch charged today that rebels in Syria killed at least 190 civilians and kidnapped more than 200 others in attacks on August 4. It happened during a rebel offensive in the coastal province of Latakia. Witnesses told of entire families being executed. Human Rights Watch says Islamist groups, including two linked to al-Qaida, led the offensive.

LAMA FAKIH, Human Rights Watch: The coordinated nature and advance planning that went into this operation shows that this is not just the work of some rogue fighters within these rebel groups, but, rather, this was a planned attack against a civilian population. For that reason, we do believe that the abuses amount to — or may amount to crimes against humanity. They certainly amount to war crimes.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The rebels are mainly Sunni Muslims. The victims of the attack belonged to the minority Alawite sect, which supports President Bashar al-Assad.

Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan today to help revive security talks. He met with President Hamid Karzai to discuss keeping some U.S. troops in the country beyond 2014. Talks have stalled over how to preserve Afghan sovereignty. Also today, an Afghan official said U.S. troops have captured a senior Pakistani Taliban commander in Afghanistan.

A massive tropical cyclone barreled toward Eastern India today. The powerful storm had grown so large, 1,000 miles across, it almost filled the Bay of Bengal. The storm is also — is already whipping up seas, and could have winds of 135 miles an hour when it hits India tomorrow night. Tens of thousands of residents along the coast have been ordered to flee to safety.

The U.S. Air Force has fired the commander of its nuclear missile force. Major General Michael Carey was responsible for the Air Force’s 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles. He’s been reassigned over alleged personal misconduct. Earlier this week, the Navy fired a vice admiral who oversaw nuclear weapons. He’s being investigated over gambling issues.