ISIS militants kidnapped about 400 civilians after they attacked government-held areas in the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor on Saturday, said a human rights group. In a fresh attack to capture new territory and impose its radical sharia law, the militants have also killed about 300 people, claimed the group.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed that Islamic State militants kidnapped at least 400 civilians during an attack on a government-held city in Syria. Many women and children are among the hostages. The kidnapping and massacre were part of a recent attack by the extremist group to capture new territory in Deir al Zor, reported Sky News. The group added that majority among those kidnapped belong to the Sunni sect, including families of pro-government fighters,
“After their attack on Deir Ezzor yesterday, IS abducted at least 400 civilians from the residents of the Al-Baghaliyeh suburb it captured and adjacent areas in the northwest of the city.”
Speaking about the invasion, Observatory’s head Rami Abdulrahamn added,
“There is genuine fear for their lives; there is a fear that the group might execute them as it has done before in other areas. Those abducted, all of whom are Sunnis, include women, children and family members of pro-regime fighters.”
Those abducted are believed to have been transported in large trucks to areas under ISIS control in the west of Deir Ezzor province and to the border with the Raqqa province to the northwest, reported the Daily Mail.
ISIS has confirmed the offensive. Their official statement read:
“We have launched massive assault on Syrian regime positions in the city of Deir Ezzor. We now have control over the radio tower, several warehouses and outskirt neighborhoods. The battles are ongoing until now and we ask Allah for victory and consolidation.”
Syria is officially under the rule of Bashar al-Assad, and ISIS militants have launched multiple attacks to capture areas and brutally impose their caliphate. The recent attacks also witnessed multiple areas in northwest Syria fall into the hands of the terror group. In its statement, the group added that its soldiers had killed “dozens” of Assad regime soldiers.
Deir al Zor is a critical region for the Islamic State Caliphate and its expansion. The town of Deir al Zor that was captured by the terror group is in the province that bears the same name. According to Huffington Post, the province links Islamic State’s de facto capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa with territory controlled by the militant group in neighboring Iraq.
Syria’s state news agency SANA had earlier reported about the mass massacre of about 300 innocent civilians, including women and children. The agency added that the death toll from the attack on Deir al Zor was the highest for a single day in Syria’s nearly five-year war. However, while agency did report on the attacks on Deir al Zor, it did not mention the people that were reportedly kidnapped by ISIS. Condemning the killings as a “horrific massacre against the residents of Begayliya in Deir al-Zor,” the Human Rights had previously added that ISIS had killed at least 85 civilians and 50 regime forces.
The Observatory notes that, with Saturday’s attack, ISIS now effectively controls around 60 percent of the Deir al Zor city. The region has been documented to have abundant reserves of crude oil, a commodity ISIS has reportedly traded to make “billions” to finance its operations.
Despite the airstrikes from U.S. led coalition and Russia, ISIS recently proclaimed that it is going strong. This attack does reaffirm the fact that the group may not have been weakened by the relentless attacks from the world’s leading military forces.
ISIS is known to use barbaric methods of executions on the people it kidnaps. The fate of those kidnapped remains unknown and uncertain.
[Photo by Younis Al-Bayati/Getty Images]