ISIL killed 128 in Syria town revenge campaign: Monitor

ISIL killed 128 in Syria town revenge campaign: Monitor

BEIRUT
ISIL killed 128 in Syria town revenge campaign: Monitor

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group executed dozens of civilians this month in the Syrian desert, a monitor said on Oct. 23, in a gruesome massacre as the jihadists see their "caliphate" collapse.

The extremist group last week lost its key Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, the latest in a string of setbacks for the jihadists who are facing multiple offensives in both Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said ISIL militants massacred more than 120 people in the desert town of Al-Qaryatain this month before they lost it to regime forces.

"ISIL has over a period of 20 days executed at least 120 civilians in reprisal killings, accusing them of collaboration with regime forces," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Government forces retook Al-Qaryatain, which lies in the central Homs province, on Oct. 21, three weeks after the jihadists seized control of it.

ISIL first occupied the town in 2015 and lost it to Russian-backed Syria forces last year.

"After the regime retook it, the town's residents found the bodies on the streets. They had been shot dead or executed with knives," Abdel Rahman said.

"Most of the ISIL militants who attacked the town a month ago were sleeper cells... They are from the town, know the town's residents and who is for or against the regime," he said.

The majority of those killed were executed in the last two days before ISIL lost the town again, he added.

The regime seized back Al-Qaryatain on Oct. 21 after more than 200 jihadists withdrew from the town overnight, pulling back into the vast desert region that stretches all the way to the Iraqi border.

ISIL, Syria, Raqqa