Islamic State group militants have released a video that apparently shows a mass execution within the ruins of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.
The video shows IS militants executing soldiers in an amphitheater in Tadmur—the Arabic name for the city that includes the historic Palmyra ruins— and blowing up a prison, according to private terrorist-tracking group SITE Intel Group. The executions took place in front of a black IS flag in front of the main stage.
IS said the men were soldiers captured in the city of Homs. Stills from the video show the killers as young men, possibly as young as 13 or 14, in front of an audience of several hundred men in civilian clothes, according to the BBC, which said it wasn’t clear when the video was shot.
The video could not be independently verified by USA TODAY.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has previously said that IS killed 20 men in a public execution in Palmyra’s amphitheater shortly after the group captured the modern city from government forces in May. IS reportedly killed around 200 people, including civilians, in the area when it won the city.
The video release comes about a week after Islamic State claimed responsibility for a lone gunman’s attack on a Tunisian beach resort, killing 39 people.
U.S. federal authorities have warned of a heightened risk for terror attacks targeting the July 4th holiday, including those posed by Islamic State and domestic extremists.
IS is known for releasing videos that show its violent treatment of soldiers fighting for the regime Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad and civilians from nations it opposes, including the United States and Britain.
Its expansion has also raised fears that it could destroy thousands-years-old antiquities that it views as symbols of idolatry. Last week, it said it destroyed six busts from the ancient desert city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which was a center for art and commerce in Roman times.
SOURCE:USA Today – Laura Mandaro