Sunday, January 17, 2016

ISIL 'massacre' reported in Syria's Deir ez-Zor

There have been conflicting reports on the death toll of major attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group against government-held districts in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor.

While the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said on Saturday that at least 135 people, mostly government forces, were killed as the armed group captured the northern suburb of al-Baghaliyeh, sources affiliated with the government reported a more severe "massacre".

The Reuters news agency cited a source close to the government as saying ISIL killed at least 250 people, including pro-government fighters and their families, when they attacked Baghaliyeh and Ayash - another district. The source said some of the casualties were beheaded.

Meanwhile, the state news agency SANA said ISIL fighters killed dozens of civilians, without elaborating, while the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV, which is close to the Syrian government, said ISIL killed 280 people, including women and children, and then threw their bodies in the Euphrates River. It also said the group took 400 civilians hostage.

The Syrian Observatory said that at least 80 of those killed were pro-government fighters and the rest civilians, adding that the advance in the northern tip of Deir el-Zor puts ISIL in control of around 60 percent of the city, with the regime holding the rest...


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