BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have arrested two Syrian men, one of whom is suspected of involvement in the killing of 36 Syrian government employees in Syria in March 2013 and committing war crimes, prosecutors said on Thursday.
Abdalfatah H. A., 35, is suspected of being a member of the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and of carrying out a death sentence.
With other members of his unit, he is believed to have killed 36 employees of the Syrian government who were protected under international law, said the prosecutors.
He was arrested in Duesseldorf in north-western Germany.
Spiegel Online reported that he was an asylum seeker but the prosecutor’s office declined to confirm that.
The second man, Abdulrahman A.A., 26, is also suspected of being a member of the Nusra Front and of dealing with money and transport for his unit. He was arrested in the western German town of Giessen.
Both men are believed to have been equipped with Kalashnikovs, and to have helped seize a big arms depot in Nov. 2013 near Mahin, south of the Syrian city of Homs.
The prosecutors’ office declined to give further details.
In Germany, suspects are identified only by their first name and initials.
Prosecutors separately confirmed they had received a complaint filed by a group of people who said they had been tortured in Syrian intelligence service prisons.
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, seven Syrians and two Syrian lawyers said they had submitted the first such complaint against six senior officials in the Syrian Military Intelligence Service known by name.
The aim of the complaint was to secure international arrest warrants and to start investigations by the prosecutors’ office against those responsible for crimes, said the complainants in a statement.
“This complaint is very welcome because it may lead us to an investigation,” said a spokeswoman for prosecutors in Karlsruhe, adding that German authorities had since 2011 been involved in looking at possible investigations of crime committed in Syria.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Dominic Evans