On Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that its sources had reported beheadings of members of al-Sheitaat tribe from the eastern Deir-al-Zor province. The Britain-based rights group, which monitors violence in Syria, accused the hard-line group "Islamic State" (IS) of carrying out the executions early this month when it overran villages inhabited by the tribe in the oil-rich province.
The conflict between IS and al-Sheitaat flared after the Sunni militants took control of two oil fields last month.
"Those who were executed are all al-Sheitaat," Rami Abdelrahman, director of the Observatory, told the Reuters news agency. "Some were arrested, judged and killed." The activist said the fate of some 1,800 other tribe members was unknown.
IS controls parts of northern and eastern Syria, and has also captured large swaths of territory in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq.
According to the Observatory, IS had declared al-Sheitaat an infidel tribe after some of its members refused to recognize the authority of the radical group.
In a video message on August 10, Sheikh Rafaa Aakla al-Raju, the head of al-Sheitaat, called on other tribes in the eastern region to join the fight against IS.
"We appeal to other tribes to stand by us because it will be their turn next ... If (IS) are done with us, the other tribes will be targeted," he said.
Iraq-like air strikes
Opposition groups on Saturday called on the United States to carry out airstrikes against the IS in Syria.
"I call on the United Nations and all countries believing in freedom, mainly the US, to deal with the situation in Syria similar to how they dealt with the situation in Iraq's Kurdistan," said Hadi al-Bahra, head of the Syrian National Coalition.
"The reason and the enemy are the same in Syria and Iraq and there is no room for double standards," he told reporters in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The US has carried out airstrikes against IS targets in northern Iraq to aid Kurdish peshmerga forces to take back the control of lost territories.
shs/mkg (Reuters, dpa, AFP)