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TERROR WARS
IS executes scores of Syrian troops in new atrocity
by Staff Writers
Damascus (AFP) Aug 28, 2014


Jihadists post grisly video of executed Syria troops
Beirut (AFP) Aug 28, 2014 - Islamic State jihadists posted grisly video footage Thursday of scores of bodies heaped in the desert they boasted were those of Syrian soldiers they captured and executed in their latest advance.

The dead were dressed only in their underwear, stripped of any uniform, after what IS said was a mass execution of government troops following their capture of a key northern air base on Sunday.

Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 160 soldiers had been executed at three separate locations around Raqa province, among some 500 who had made a desperate bid to escape after the loss of the Tabqa base.

The footage posted by IS showed a close-up of some 20 bodies, but then panned out to show scores more.

The lack of any signs of blood in the sand at the scene suggested that the dead might have been executed elsewhere and their bodies then moved.

Other shots showed men barefoot and dressed only in their underwear walking in line with their hands on their head in surrender, escorted by jihadist gunmen.

One held up the black flag of the jihadists. Others chanted: "Islamic State forever."

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the jihadists captured and killed more than 160 soldiers who had been desperately trying to reach government-held territory in the Orontes valley to the west after their weekend defeat.

Tabqa was the last position in Raqa province to fall to the jihadists, who now control a vast swathe of northeastern Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

The jihadists have repeatedly posted often gruesome videos, both as a warning to those joining up to the Syrian or Iraqi armies and as a propaganda tool to recruit volunteers from the wider Islamic world.

Islamic State jihadists boasted Thursday they had executed scores of Syrian troops after capturing a key air base, the latest in a string of abuses that have shocked the world.

News of the killings came as US President Barack Obama weighed air strikes on IS positions in Syria and edged closer to greenlighting a mission to aid Shiite Turkmen trapped in an Iraqi town besieged by the jihadists.

It also came as rival Islamist rebels led by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front seized 43 UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights, part of a mission that has monitored an armistice between Syrian and Israeli troops on the strategic plateau for decades.

IS posted grisly video footage on the Internet of scores of bodies heaped in the desert they boasted were those of Syrian soldiers they captured and executed following its seizure of Tabqa air base.

The jihadists have repeatedly posted gruesome videos, which have appalled international opinion but served as a propaganda tool to recruit volunteers.

Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that IS had executed at least 160 soldiers, among some 500 who had made a desperate bid to escape to government-held territory after their defeat last Sunday.

The footage posted by IS showed a close-up of some 20 bodies, but then panned out to show scores more.

Other shots showed men barefoot and dressed only in their underwear walking in line with their hands on their head in surrender, escorted by jihadist gunmen.

One held up the black flag of the jihadists. Others chanted: "Islamic State forever."

Tabqa was the last position in Raqa province to fall to the jihadists, who now control a vast swathe of northeastern Syria and Iraq.

A UN-mandated probe has charged that public executions, amputations, lashings and mock crucifixions have become a regular fixture in jihadist-controlled areas of Syria.

Obama was to meet with top national security aides at 2000 GMT to decide whether to expand US air strikes launched against IS in Iraq earlier this month to its strongholds in Syria.

The Syrian government launched air strikes of its own on Thursday, killing six IS leaders, the Observatory said, but Washington has so far baulked at cooperating with Damascus against the group.

- UN peacekeepers held -

Rival jihadists of Al-Nusra Front, backed by other rebels, detained 43 Fijian peacekeepers on the Golan on Thursday, a day after their capture of the sole crossing over the UN-patrolled armistice line to the Israeli-occupied sector of the plateau.

"Forty-three peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force were detained early this morning by an armed group in the vicinity of Quneitra," a UN statement said.

The 43 peacekeepers from Fiji were forced to surrender their weapons and taken hostage, but 81 Filipino blue helmets "held their ground" and refused to disarm, the Filipino defence department said.

It said the Filipino peacekeepers were being surrounded by the gunmen.

The UN Security Council condemned the action and demanded the "unconditional and immediate release" of the peacekeepers, a statement said.

Peacekeepers were detained twice last year and released safely.

But the Philippines has said it will repatriate its 331-strong contingent, for security reasons, mirroring previous moves by Australia, Croatia and Japan.

Washington has also been weighing both aid drops and air strikes in Iraq to help residents of a Shiite Turkmen town besieged by the jihadists since early June, US officials said on Wednesday.

Inhabitants of the Salaheddin province town of Amerli, north of Baghdad, face danger both because of their faith, which jihadists consider heresy, and their resistance against the militants,

"It could be a humanitarian operation. It could be a military operation. It could be both," said a US defence official on condition of anonymity.

Iraq is preparing its own effort, massing forces north and south of the town and carrying out air strikes against the jihadist militants besieging it.

There is "no possibility of evacuating them so far", Eliana Nabaa, spokeswoman for the UN mission in Iraq, said of Amerli residents.

UN Iraq envoy Nickolay Mladenov has called for an urgent effort to help Amerli, saying residents face a "possible massacre" if the town is overrun.

burs-kir/hkb/hc

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TERROR WARS
Jihadists anti-Islamic: exiled Brotherhood spiritual guide
Doha (AFP) Aug 27, 2014
The organisation of exiled Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi said Wednesday that the actions of "deviant groups" like the jihadist Islamic State were in violation of Islamic law. Qaradawi's International Union of Muslim Scholars described as "criminal and unlawful" an offensive led by the group's fighters against non-Muslims in northern Iraq earlier this month. ... read more


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