War monitor: Islamic State executes 33 young people in Syria

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Islamic State carried out a mass execution in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province in which 33 people aged 18 to 25 died.

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The SOHR said the execution occurred Wednesday morning in the desert of al-Mayadin about 5 miles southeast of al-Mayadin city. The SOHR said its monitors were able to see the execution carried out with what it described as sharp tools, used to cut victims’ necks.

The SOHR said those executed were not identified, so it is not known if they are members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, prisoners, members of the Islamic State or Syrian rebels. The SOHR said no one was beheaded in what it’s calling the first mass execution carried out by the Islamic State in 2017. They said it was larger than two separate mass executions in which 15 people were killed each in mid-September and early October.

The Islamic State used the Syrian civil war as a way to capture significant territory in Syria. It seized the city of Raqqa in 2013, which served as the de-facto capital of its territory. The U.S.-led international coalition against the Islamic State is supporting Syrian militias on the ground in its efforts to capture the city of Raqqa away from Islamic State control.

Modern Diplomacy reported that as the battle for Raqqa escalates, the Islamic State has moved resources and leadership personnel to the city of al-Mayadin — either to reduce potential losses in the fight for Raqqa or to draw in U.S. forces and its Syrian allies to carry out a major assault against them.

By Andrew V. Pestano