Assad's "ghosts": Syria's steroid-mad killer thug squad

Covered in tattoos of images of their leader, they are blamed for roaming the nation massacring children and women by slitting their throats or shooting them at point-blank range.

Wielding AK-47s and machetes, they are said to carry out the government’s dirty work so officials can claim the rampages are not being sponsored by the state. …

Their modus operandi sees them swarm in to towns after the army has stopped shelling. A source said: ‘Their mission is to terrorise the civilian population and conduct ethnic cleansing.’