Accessibility links

Breaking News

Islamic State Killing Many Noncombatants, Monitor Says

FILE - An undated video released in August shows U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff with an Islamic State militant later dubbed "Jihadi John." Sotloff’s beheading was confirmed in early September.

The militant Islamic State group has killed 1,432 Syrians off the battlefield since the end of June, when it declared a caliphate in the territory under its control, a group monitoring the war said on Monday.

The killings included deaths by beheading, stoning, shooting or slitting victims’ throats in noncombat situations. Islamic State, which has seized parts of northern and eastern Syria as well northern and western Iraq, has often publicly displayed bodies after the killings.

The hardline group, an offshoot of al-Qaida, on Sunday released a video saying it had beheaded American aid worker Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig. U.S. President Barack Obama described the act as "pure evil."

While the Islamic State has killed a number of foreigners, including journalists and aid workers, victims overwhelmingly have come from the local population, said Rami Abdul Rahman, who runs the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Most victims were civilians

The majority – 882 – were civilians, Rahman said in describing the killings since June 29. They included five women and two children. The two were shot dead separately in Aleppo province. One was accused of taking pictures of an Islamic State headquarters; the other was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad.

During the same period, the group killed 483 captured members of Syrian pro-government forces and 63 members of insurgent and Kurdish fighting groups in Syria. It also put to death four of its own members, Rahman added.

The hardline Sunni Muslim group has killed people from across ethnicities and sects in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, it killed hundreds of members of the Sheitaat tribe, which it had been battling in the east of the country.

In some towns and villages, the group has set up courts to administer what it describes as Islamic law before carrying out the killings.