Reports emerged on social media on Tuesday and today that the extremist Islamist group ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) crucified two people in a public square in the main town of Raqqa.
The pictures were quickly circulated by both pro- and anti-ISIS groups but could not be independently verified.
Abu Ibrahim Alrquaoui, a spokesperson for the group and who also took the photographs, told VICE News that ISIS was responsible for killing seven people in Al Raqqa city, the capital of Raqqa province.
A twitter account affiliated with ISIS tweeted that they had killed seven people and crucified two.
According to Alrquaoui, ISIS shot the victims and then later affixed two of the corpses to crosses. In addition to the seven in the capital, ISIS also killed three people in the town of Tell Abyad and two in Suluk.
The victims were allegedly killed for being in opposition to ISIS. The sign attached to the victim read, “This man was a fighter against Muslims and threw a grenade here.”
"Five of the twelve that ISIS killed were part of the FSA," Alrquaoui told VICE News. "The others were random and two were children, aged 13 and 16."
This is not the first time that ISIS has crucified people in public, said Alrquaoui. Last month, ISIS charged a man with murder and robbery and crucified him in Raqqa.
Crucifixion by ISIS last month
Reports and images of public killings have been steadily emerging from Raqqa since ISIS took control of the province and have reportedly become a feature of ISIS’ method of rule over of populations in both Raqqa and Aleppo.
Raqqa has witnessed some of the worst fighting since the Syrian civil war began three years ago and as a result gained the unpleasant moniker of the “Kandahar of Syria.”
The province was one of the first to be seized by opposition fighters and away from Assad’s army. ISIS took control of Raqqa from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) late last year and the province has been under repressive rule ever since.
Shortly after gaining control of Raqqa, ISIS implemented harsh Sharia law on the population, banning music, cigarettes, alcohol and forcing prayer and Islamic dress on the population. ISIS is so extreme that other Al Qaeda-affiliated groups have distanced themselves from them.
In December of last year, Amnesty International released a report detailing ISIS’ human rights violations in Raqqa and across northern Syria. Crimes included torture, flogging, summary killings and detainment in secret prisons.
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