Islamic State executes two Syrian soldiers in Palmyra

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ISIS militants appear in a video executing two Syrian men in Palmyra city. File photo

ARA News

Homs – Extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS) executed two soldiers of the Syrian Army in the ancient city of Palmyra, activists reported on Saturday.

ISIS militants have taken nine Syrian soldiers as captives after clashes in eastern Homs last week.

“The group on Saturday executed two of the imprisoned soldiers,” local media activist Armo al-Hussein told ARA News.

The soldiers were executed by firing squad at the Roman amphitheatre in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. Dozens of people have reportedly witnessed the execution on Saturday.

“ISIS will most likely execute the rest of the captives as well, but aims to do so separately to continue its pressure on the Syrian Army, especially with the continued clashes in villages and town between Homs and Palmyra,” al-Hussein said.

Last week on Thursday, ISIS executed 12 people in Palmyra after accusing them of supporting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Some of the victims were teachers and others were employees at governmental institutions in Palmyra city, east of Homs Governorate, local sources told ARA News.

The mass executions also took place at the Roman-era amphitheater in the ancient city. “ISIS accused the 12 victims of working for the Assad regime and supporting its actions against the so-called Caliphate,” local media activist Muhammad al-Homsi said, speaking to ARA News from Palmyra.

The same historical amphitheater was also used as a stage for the execution of 25 Syrian soldiers by ISIS in May, 2015.

“The use of the Roman amphitheater for the executions proves the brutality of ISIS terrorists,” said the Syrian Director-General of Antiquities and Museums, Maumoon Abdul Karim. “The terrorist group has been barbarically executing people and destroying antiquities in the ancient city of Palmyra.”

On December 11, 2016, the ISIS hardline group recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra in Homs Governorate. Activists and military sources confirmed the rout, reporting that the Syrian army had been forced to withdraw under fire. “The army withdrew after the clashes reached the city center and it became impossible for them to push ISIS back,” local media activist Abas al-Omar told ARA News.

Russia had supported the Syrian Army in Palmyra, with airstrikes and logistical support but their efforts were apparently insufficient to save the city.

ISIS first took over Palmyra in May 2015, following  a protracted battle with regime forces. The Islamic State’s occupation was exceptionally brutal, even by the standards of Syria’s 5-year-long conflict.

Reporting by: Haytham Mustafa | Source: ARA News

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