The Islamic State group on Tuesday executed at least 30 people, including two children, during an attack on a regime-held village in the central Syrian city of Hama, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported, citing a monitor of the conflict in Syria.
ISIS militants “executed at least 30 people, including women and children, by burning, beheading, and firing on them” in the village of Mabujeh, Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.
Mabujeh, which is located in the eastern region of Hama, is home to Sunni Muslims as well as people from minority sects, including Alawites and Ismailis. ISIS frequently targets minority communities in Syria, especially Shiite Muslims, whom it accuses of apostasy, or conscious abandonment of Islam, AFP reported.
ISIS reportedly also killed 83 regime soldiers in the region recently in a bid to gain control over a key road near Mabujeh, which is the regime’s only link between the central Syrian province of Homs and the country’s northern province of Aleppo.
The latest executions come after the extremist group released a video on Sunday, showing its militants beheading eight men, believed to be Shiite Muslims. In the video, which was posted on social media, an ISIS fighter claimed that the men were executed in Hama.
“Our swords will soon, God willing, reach the Nuseiries and their allies like Bashar and his party,” the ISIS fighter speaks in the video, referring to the Syrian President Bashar Assad and his ally Lebanon's Hezbollah group. The word Nuseiry refers to Assad's Alawite sect, which is an offshoot of Shiite Islam, the Associated Press reported.
Assad, who has got backing from Russia and Iran in fighting ISIS, said Sunday that the Islamic militant group is expanding and gaining strength despite the U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
“Sometimes you could have local benefit, but in general if you want to talk in terms of ISIS -- actually ISIS has expanded since the beginning of the strikes,” Assad said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS' “60 Minutes.”