Islamist rebels execute 56 Syrian soldiers

2015-09-19 18:03
ISIS members (File, AP)

ISIS members (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - Islamist rebels, led by the al-Qaeda branch in Syria, have executed 56 government soldiers at an air base under the opposition's control in north-western Syria, a monitoring group said.

The soldiers were shot to death in a mass execution days ago at the Abu al-Duhur airport in Idlib province near the Turkish border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The insurgents, headed by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, captured the air base on September 9 after besieging it for almost two years.

The latest executions bring to 71 the number of regime troops killed by Islamist rebels since opposition forces took over the base, which was the government's last military stronghold in Idlib, according to the Britain-based observatory, which monitors the Syrian conflict through a network of opposition activists in the country.

Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has battled a range of rebel forces, as well ISIS, since mass protests against his rule descended into civil war in 2011.

Moscow said last week that it had been openly sending military equipment to the Syrian government to fight terrorism, specifically ISIS, which has gained significant territory since early 2014 in both Syria and Iraq.

Russia, a staunch ally of Assad, said on Friday it was ready to consider sending troops to Syria if Damascus asks.

The situation is made more complex by military operations against ISIS inside Syria by a US-led coalition.

The Syrian conflict is becoming "more complicated" because of "Russian engagement," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in London after meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Moscow has shrugged off US concerns of Russian troops in the conflict, saying that "Russian military specialists" have been in Syria for many years to help with Russian-made equipment.

Kerry said Saturday that US and Russian defence ministers have spoken by phone extensively on defeating ISIS, and Moscow's help would be welcomed.

"But the other part of the equation is Assad and how you resolve the fact that he is a magnate for foreign fighters to come to the region," Kerry added.

Meanwhile, in central Syria, at least 26 people were killed late Friday in a wave of airstrikes by government jets in the Islamic State-held ancient city of Palmyra, the monitoring group said.

The head of the observatory, Rami Abdel-Rahman, described the bombardment as the heaviest since the extremist militia seized Palmyra in May.

The dead included 12 ISIS members, his group said.

In recent weeks, the jihadist group has blown up the ancient Temple of Bel and some of the famed tower tombs in Palmyra, a Unesco listed World Heritage Site.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  isis  |  unesco  |  syria  |  security

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.