BEIRUT: Militants from the Al-Qaeda breakaway group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) were accused Thursday of massacring 15 Syrian Kurds, nearly half of them children, amid an uptick in violence in Syria’s three eastern provinces.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and several Kurdish media outlets said the attack took place in a village near the town of Ras al-Ain on the Turkish border, after militants stormed the village.
It said of the 15, seven were children, one a young man, and three were women.
Video footage of the aftermath, circulated by activists, showed a man carrying the corpse of a young girl, and shouting, “They are criminals, not Muslims!”
ISIS militants have been accused of committing repeated atrocities against civilians as well as rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Separately, the Observatory said that leaders from the Kurdish YPG militia denied having set off a car bomb in the city of Raqqa earlier this week in an attack that reportedly targeted a high-level meeting of ISIS figures.
The Observatory said the attack, against the Lazord Hotel, killed at least 10 ISIS militants and wounded an unspecified number of others.
“These accusations are wrong – the YPG does not engage in such criminal acts, even if it is in a state of war with ISIS,” a Kurdish militia leader was quoted by the Observatory as saying.
In the city of Hassakeh, a roadside bomb attack Thursday targeted a patrol belonging to a local Kurdish police force, the Observatory added, wounding two policemen.
In Deir al-Zor, fighters from ISIS seized one village and part of another in the western part of the province, it said. The development came after ISIS fighters skirmished with fighters from the Nusra Front, the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and Islamist militias from the region.
A number of casualties were sustained by both sides in the clashes, the Observatory said, while two civilians were also killed in the battle.
It said that a rebel commander died of his wounds sustained a few days earlier in clashes with ISIS, while the extremist group’s shelling of the village of Ibriha in Deir al-Zor led to fires that swept large tracts of agricultural land.