IS abducts more than 400 civilians in east Syria
January 17 2016 12:37 PM
Deir al-Zor
Families of pro-government fighters were among those abducted from Deir al-Zor, says Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

AFP/ Beirut

 The Islamic State group abducted at least 400 civilians including women and children after capturing new territory in an assault on Syria's eastern city of Deir al-Zor, a monitor said Sunday.

"After their attack on Deir al-Zor (on Saturday), IS abducted at least 400 civilians from the residents of the Al-Baghaliyeh suburb it captured and adjacent areas in the northwest of the city," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"Those abducted, all of whom are Sunnis, include women, children and family members of pro-regime fighters," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

They were transported to areas under IS control in the west of Deir al-Zor province and to the border with the Raqa province to the northwest.

The IS attack on Deir al-Zor on Saturday killed at least 85 civilians and 50 regime forces, the monitor said.

Syria's state news agency SANA, quoting residents, said "around 300 civilians" were killed in the onslaught and denounced a "massacre".

If confirmed it would be one of the highest tolls for a single day in Syria's nearly five-year war.

According to the Observatory, the advance put IS in control of around 60 percent of Deir al-Zor  city, capital of the province of the same name in an oil-rich region bordering Iraq.

Sporadic fighting between IS and regime forces continued on Sunday in the northwest of the city, the monitor said.

Russian warplanes carried out airstrikes in support of regime fighters in Al-Baghaliyeh overnight, it said.

The regime still controls parts of the provincial capital and a nearby military airport despite repeated attacks from IS.

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