Syria: Al Qaeda-linked groups destroy Sufi shrine in northern village
A Sufi shrine was destroyed in Tel Marouf, a northern Syrian village largely inhabited by Kurds. (AFP)
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Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria have destroyed a religious shrine in a village in the country’s north and kidnapped dozens of its inhabitants.
Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked the village of Tel Marouf, located near the city of Qamishli, and burned houses along with a Sufi shrine belonging to Sheikh Khaznawi.
Tel Marouf village is mostly inhabited by Kurdish people.
The militants also kidnapped around 50 residents of the village, including some women and children.
The attack came as the Syrian government forces made more advances against opposition fighters on Sunday, inflicting heavy losses on them in Aleppo and Homs.
A number of the militants from the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front were reportedly killed in Syrian army’s operations in Rastan city in Homs.
In Aleppo, scores of militants were also killed in clashes with the Syrian government forces.
The Syrian army has escalated its mop-up operations against the militant groups across the country.
Syria has been the scene of deadly violence since March 2011. Over 130,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil.
The Western powers and their regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - have been supporting the militants operating inside Syria.