Islamic State fighters have taken 400 civilians hostage in eastern Syria, during an attack on a government held district in Deir al Zor.
The hostages include women and children. It comes just a day after around 300 people were brutally murdered in Deir al Zor.
The Sunday Express reports:
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said those abducted were all Sunnis and included families of pro-government fighters.
They were taken to other areas under IS control in northwest Syria, it said.
“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,” it added.
Deir al-Zor is the main town in a province of the same name. The province links Islamic State’s de facto capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa with territory controlled by the militant group in neighbouring Iraq.
Syria’s government said the group attacked the town, killing 300 people in an “appalling massacre” a day earlier.
The state-run SANA news agency said Sunday that most of those killed in day-long attacks on Deir el-Zour were elderly people, women and children.
The killings are believed to be some of the most brutal carried out by the extremist group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.
Opposition activists also confirmed the killings by way of shooting and beheading.
Islamic State has previously carried out mass killings following military assaults in Iraq and Syria, including the slaughter of 200 soldiers captured from the Tabqa airbase in Raqqa province, and hundreds of members of the al-Sheitat tribe in Deir al-Zor in 2014.
The group, in control of most of Deir al-Zor province, has laid siege since March on remaining government-held areas in the city of Deir al-Zor.
Residents are facing severe food shortages and sharply deteriorating conditions.
Of those under siege in the city, 70 percent are women and children, and many have been displaced from their homes elsewhere and are living in temporary shelters