Accessibility links

Breaking News

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

Syrian observers say Islamic State militants have executed 217 people, including children, in the eastern region of Homs since they captured the historic city of Palmyra more than a week ago.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters. More than 600 people have been taken prisoner.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman tells the French News Agency that some of those executed were beheaded while others were shot or stabbed. The observatory says Islamic State accused those killed or captured of being Syrian "regime agents."

State-run Syrian media says Islamic State has killed 400 people since taking Palmyra, including entire families.

The militants seized Palmyra May 14, putting 2,000 year-old Muslim ruins at risk of destruction. Islamic State has a history of sweeping into towns and cities in neighboring Iraq, executing those it says are cooperating with government forces and destroying ancient Muslim relics.

The extremists regard historic monuments and statues as blasphemous.