Islamic State militants killed more than 150 of the troops captured in recent fighting in north-eastern Syria. It is the latest mass killing attributed to the extremists, activists said, with the violence coming during a 24-hour period. The troops were either shot or slashed with knives.
In southern Syria, meanwhile, the United Nations said gunmen detained 43 UN Fijian peacekeepers during fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, and another 81 peacekeepers from the Philippines were trapped in the area by the heavy clashes between rebels and Syrian troops.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said many of the soldiers killed were rounded up on Wednesday in the arid countryside near the Tabqa airfield, three days after Islamic State fighters seized the base. The government troops were among a large group of soldiers from the base who were stuck behind the front lines after the airfield fell to the jihadi fighters.
The Observatory said around 120 captive government troops from Tabqa were killed near the base. Islamic State fighters killed at least another 40 soldiers, most of whom had been taken prisoner in recent fighting for other bases in the Hamrat region near Raqqa city, the group's stronghold.
A statement posted online and circulated on Twitter by supporters of the Islamic State group claimed the extremists killed "about 200" government prisoners captured near Tabqa. It also showed photographs of those it said were the prisoners: young men stripped down to their underwear marching in the desert. The photos could not immediately be verified.
A video showing the same also emerged online, followed by another video posted later showing more than 150 men lying motionless – apparently dead – in a row in the sand.