Jihadi militants belonging to the "Islamic State" ("IS") have carried out the first beheadings of female civilians in Syria. The two women were executed over accusations of "sorcery."
According to Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the executions took place this week.
One of the women was reportedly beheaded along with her husband in Syria's eastern Deir al-Zor province. The second was also decapitated with her spouse in al-Mayadeen city, located in Syria's south east. Both couples were accused of "witchcraft and sorcery."
"This is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner," Rahman said on Tuesday.
The British-based Observatory also said on Tuesday that IS had "crucified" five men in al-Mayadeen. The men had allegedly eaten during daylight hours of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
They were hung up by their limbs on the city wall and children were encouraged to mock them as they suffered, the Observatory added.
Over 3,000 IS executions
IS has become infamous for its brutal killings, with over 3,000 executions known to have been carried out since IS declared its Islamic "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq last June, according to Observatory figures.
Almost 1,800 of those killed were reportedly civilians, including 74 children. Among them were opposition fighters, aid workers and journalists, as well as people IS deemed to be violating their hardline interpretation of Islamic law. A number of women have also been reportedly stoned to death in the past over allegations of adultery.
The militant organization has captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. Baghdad's army and Syrian rebels have thwarted their advance in many areas, however, with the help of US air power and that of other coalition members.
ksb/kms (Reuters, AFP)