ISIS youth execute 25 Syrian soldiers at Palmyra amphitheater – report
The video shows over two dozens Syrian soldiers loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Assad brutally murdered by adolescent executioners in a Roman-era amphitheater in the city of Palmyra, located in the Syrian desert, according to reports.
The execution is said to have taken place shortly after the Islamic State (IS, previous ISIS/ISIL) captured the historical city on May 21. The UN human rights office said that one-third of Palmyra’s 200,000 residents fled the city following the takeover.
In the video, Syrian soldiers are seen kneeling in green and brown military uniforms on the stage of the amphitheater stage just before being shot dead from behind by the young militants, according to reports. There is a huge IS flag displayed in the background.
The perpetrators look like children or teenagers dressed in desert camouflage and brown bandanas.
There appears to have been men and children watching the executions from the stands of the theater.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, was the first to report on the video. Their report was released on May 27, less than a week after IS gained control over the city, though the exact date of the alleged killings is unknown.
The extremist organization is reportedly responsible for executing over 200 people, many of them civilians, around the Palmyra area. At the end of May, there were reports that Islamic State militants had killed at least 400 people in Palmyra, mostly women and children.
This most recent act of violence has raised fears about more brutality to come, as well as the fate of ancient ruins like the amphitheater.
“Using the Roman theater to execute people proves that these people are against humanity,” Syria’s antiquities director Mamoun Abdelkarim told AFP.
Some of the world’s most famous Middle East heritage sites are located in Palmyra, such as Roman-era colonnades and 2,000-year-old ruins.
UNESCO describes Palmyra as a city of “outstanding universal value,” an “oasis in the Syrian desert” northeast of Damascus. “From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences,” the United Nations agency says.
Islamic State has executed more than 3,000 people in Syria alone, some 1,700 of whom were civilians, since the group proclaimed themselves a caliphate on the territories of Syria and Iraq as of June 29, 2014, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.