Islamic State fighters kidnapped at least 400 civilians during an attack over the weekend on the government-held city of Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria, where more than 130 people have been killed by the terrorist group.
The abductions were reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a London-based group that closely tracks developments in areas where the IS is active.
The SOHR had earlier reported that IS fighters massacred 135 people after capturing the suburb of al-Baghaliyeh on Saturday.
The group quoted “several reliable sources” as saying that 400 civilians, including families of members of pro-government militias, were kidnapped by the terrorists from al-Baghaliyeh and from the northwest of Deir al-Zor.
The kidnapped people were taken to the countryside, including Ma’adan area near Raqqa, the main stronghold of the IS.
“It is feared that the organisation (could) execute them as they did in previous incidents,” SOHR said in a statement on its website.
Among the 135 people killed by the IS fighters were 85 civilians. They included the families of members of the Syrian national army and National Defence Forces, a volunteer reserve force under the army, and some Baathists. The rest were pro-government fighters, SOHR said.
The state-run SANA news agency also reported IS fighters had committed “a massacre” but it put the death toll higher at 300, including “women, children, and elderly people”.
SOHR also said that 42 IS fighters, including several suicide bombers, were also killed in the fighting over the weekend at al-Baghaliyeh.
The IS laid siege to Deir al-Zor last year, resulting in severe food shortages in the city. The group has also been accused of mass killings in the past, including the slaughter of some 200 soldiers in Raqqa aprovince.