'We're going to send you to hell,' Isis boast as they execute scores of troops
Fresh evidence of mass executions by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) emerged last night when the group released a video appearing to show the murder of up to 250 Syrian soldiers.
In footage that will bolster the group's status as the world's most brutal terrorist outfit, captured Syrian troops were shown being forced to run through the desert in their underwear before facing a firing squad.
Their near-naked corpses were then shown lying face down in a long, snaking line at the foot of a sandbank.
The video was posted on YouTube, and was confirmed as genuine by an Isis fighter in comments to a news agency.
A caption on the video identified the captured men as Syrian troops who had been defending an air base in Tabqa, 32 kilometres from Isis's main stronghold in the city of Raqqa in north-east Syria.
An Isis fighter in Raqqa said: "Yes, we have executed them all."
The latest Isis atrocity is likely to increase international pressure on the US to take decisive military action against the group, which claimed responsibility last week for the beheading of James Foley, a US journalist.
On Monday, the UN accused Isis of carrying out numerous mass executions in the past few months, including the killing of 670 inmates of a prison in the Iraqi city of Mosul in June, and the murder of captured Iraqi soldiers.
The executed Syrian soldiers are understood to have been defending one of the Syrian government's last military outposts in north-east Syria, which fell after days of heavy fighting.
According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict using sources on the ground, the soldiers had been trying to flee the air base when they were captured.
The video showed at least 135 men, some with their hands on their heads, walking in their underwear while jihadist gunmen taunt them and force them to sing Isis slogans.
One captive, who identified himself as a Syrian army officer, is shown being subjected to interrogation and abuse after admitting he is an Alawite, the minority Shia Muslim sect.
"Who's your father? You can't possibly know who your father is. You're a b*****d," the interrogator says, implying Alawites are born out of wedlock.
The interrogator then asks why the officer did not choose to defect from the army. When the officer insists that he would simply have been conscripted again, the interrogator replies:
"They would have sent you right back to the army? And we're going to send you right back to hell: by slaughter."
Syrian state media has confirmed the attack on the base but has so far not reported any deaths or any army members being captured. It has claimed that Isis suffered heavy losses in the battle over the base.
Meanwhile, an Italian-based Muslim who took his two-year-old son with him to fight in Syria has been killed near Aleppo, leaving his family desperate for news about the child.
Ismar Mesinovic (38), a Bosnian painter and decorator living in Longarone in north-east Italy, told his Cuban wife, Lidia Herrera Solano (34), that he was going to Germany last December but instead left for Syria.
Investigators believe Mr Mesinovic had been converted to radical Islam by recruiters operating in northern Italy.
It is thought he was killed by forces loyal to Mr Assad. Italian investigators are now seeking to trace his son, Ismair.(© Daily Telegraph, London)