BEIRUT – Eight rebel fighters have been crucified in Syria by the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) because they were considered too moderate, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on contacts on the ground in Syria, said the men were crucified on Saturday in Aleppo province. It added that their corpses were still on view.
The Observatory said clashes between rival Islamist groups in Syria had killed around 7,000 people since January, as militants from ISIL — which announced Sunday that it was changing its name to just the Islamic State — try to consolidate their grip on vast tracts of newly acquired territory.
The infighting has complicated the insurgency and drawn in foreign fighters.
The Islamic State has captured areas on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border after seizing the Iraqi city of Mosul on June 10 and sweeping toward Baghdad.
In Syria, the Islamic State has battled with groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida’s official Syrian wing, in the uprising against President Bashar Assad that started with pro-democracy protests but has since descended into civil war.
The Observatory, an anti-Assad group that tracks the violence, said the vast majority were killed in explosions, including car bombings and suicide attacks. It monitored the infighting in seven provinces.
It said the Islamic State had executed the eight men in Aleppo province for belonging to more moderate groups. The men were crucified in the town square of Deir Hafer in eastern Aleppo and would be left there for three days, it said.
The men were accused of being “Sahwa” fighters, the Observatory said, a term the Islamic State uses to refer to rival combatants whom it accuses of being in thrall to the West.
The Islamic State also crucified another man in the town of Al-Bab near the Turkish border, it said. He was pinned up for eight hours as a punishment for giving false testimony but survived the ordeal, the Observatory said.