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Islamic State 'executed' 116 in Syria town revenge campaign

IS militants killed more than 100 civilians over a 20-day period before Syrian forces captured Al-Qaryatain
Syrian soldiers and pro-regime militiamen gather in the desert town of Al-Qaryatain on October 22, 2017, a day after retaking it from the Islamic State group (AFP)

The Islamic State group killed 116 people it suspected of collaborating with the Syrian government in Al-Qaryatain this month before losing the desert down to government forces, a monitor said on Monday.

"IS has over a period of 20 days executed at least 116 civilians in reprisal killings, accusing them of collaboration with regime forces," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

Syrian government forces retook Al-Qaryatain, which lies in the central Homs province, on Saturday, three weeks after the jihadists seized control of it.

IS had first occupied the town in 2015 and lost it to a Russian-backed Syria forces last year.

"After the regime retook it (on Saturday), the town's residents found the bodies on the streets. They had been shot dead or executed with knives," Abdel Rahman said.

"Most of the IS fighters who attacked the town a month ago were sleeper cells... They are from the town, know the town's residents and who is for or against the regime," he said.

The majority of those killed were executed in the last two days before IS lost the town again, he added.

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