Middle East

Seven members of Syria family executed by jihadists

Children react beside a dead body under rubble at a site hit by what activists said were two airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad in Douma in eastern al-Ghouta August 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh)

DAMASCUS: The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group executed seven members of a single family from the Ismaili minority in the central Syrian province of Hama overnight, state media and an activist group said Monday.

"An armed terrorist group committed a massacre in the Mzeiraa area near the town of Salmiya, killing seven people, including two aged 13 and 15 years old," Syrian state news agency SANA said.

The agency added that four other people had been injured.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group, also reported the deaths, saying the seven belonged to the Ismaili religious minority, a Shiite Muslim offshoot.

The group said some of them had been shot dead and others killed with knives, adding that the jihadists had also fired on homes in the area with artillery.

ISIS is the most radical group operating in Syria, where it has seized large swath of territory.

It has declared a "caliphate" in the land it holds in Syria and neighboring Iraq, but faces a backlash from Syrian opposition fighters, including the jihadists from the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate.

Elsewhere, the Observatory said clashes between the ISIS and a Sunni tribe in the oil-rich eastern province of Deir al-Zor overnight killed at least 13 people - civilians and members of the Shaitat tribe.

Fighting between the tribe and ISIS broke out last week after the jihadist group detained three tribal members "violating an agreement."

The tribe has taken back control of three villages from ISIS, but fighting was ongoing, the Observatory said.

Elsewhere in Deir al-Zor, some 5,000 people have fled several villages because of heavy regime shelling, the Observatory said, describing difficult conditions including lack of drinking water and shelter for the displaced.

The activist group also said the toll in regime air raids around the capital Sunday night had risen from 32 to 50.

Twenty were killed in Douma, northeast of Damascus, and another 30 in Kfar Batna, the group said.

More than 170,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict began in March 2011, according to the Observatory.





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