The Syrian regime has announced that Daesh militants slaughtered 300 people in an "appalling massacre" committed in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor in attacks that saw the extremists make significant advances in the contested region, the Daily Star reports.
The state-run SANA news agency claimed that the majority of the victims of Saturday's attacks were elderly people, women and children. However, opposition activists claim that most of the victims were Syrian soldiers, pro-regime militiamen and their families.
The mass killing is one of the worst carried out by the extremist group to date. The extremist group controls large parts of Syria and Iraq and has killed thousands of people in both countries.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which documents all sides of the Syria conflict using activists on the ground, reported that at least 135 people were killed late on Saturday. According to their reports, approximately 80 of them were soldiers and pro-government militiamen and the rest were civilians.
They added that many of the killings were shootings or beheadings.
Daesh controls most of Deir Ezzor province and much of the capital with the same name, while the regime holds several districts in the northern part of the city and the adjacent military airport. Most of the casualties took place in the area of Baghaliyeh near the city.
Al-Mayadeen TV, affiliated to the Syrian government and based in Lebanon, also reported a massacre and said Daesh killed scores of people, including women and children, and threw their bodies in the Euphrates River. It added that Daesh had taken over 400 civilians hostage.
The reports have not been independently confirmed.
Aamaq news agency, affiliated to the Daesh group, reported a complex and sweeping attack on Deir Ezzor which started with a suicide bombing. On Sunday, there were further reports that the group spread its control to the areas of west and northwest of Deir Ezzor and had killed approximately 110 Syrian government forces and captured five others.
It said the militants took control of Baghaliyeh and its surrounding areas during the fighting.
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