Syria rebels behead suspected IS militants following Idlib assassinations

Syria rebels behead suspected IS militants following Idlib assassinations
Four suspected IS militants were beheaded by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham this weekend, following a wave of assassinations of rebel leaders in Idlib province.
2 min read
16 July, 2018
Idlib has been hit by a new wave of assassinations [AFP]

Four suspected Islamic State group militants were beheaded by Syrian rebels in Idlib over the weekend, following a wave of assassinations in the opposition province, a monitor reported on Sunday.

"Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) executed four persons on charges of being members of [IS]... in Salqin town in [the] Idlib countryside," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The monitor reported that a leading figure of an "IS cell" was also beheaded by the al-Qaeda linked rebel group on Saturday, while another militant committed suicide a day earlier after his home was surrounded by HTS fighters.

HTS have launched a security sweep in Idlib province to track down suspected IS sleeper cells.

This follows a spike in assassinations and bombings targeting rebel fighters and civilians in Idlib over the past week.

A rebel commander was shot dead in the province over the weekend, bringing the death toll from assassinations in Idlib to 15, in less than two days.

The monitor reported that 237 people in rebel areas have been killed in assassinations, including civilians who have died from frequent bomb attacks in Idlib, Aleppo and Hamas - some of the last opposition areas in Syria. 

Bombings and shootings in Idlib have become so common over the past week that one local writer describing the threat posed by IS as being greater than the one posed by the regime.

Syrian-based Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini has been targeted by several bombings.

In April, dozens of people were killed in a similar wave of attacks by suspected IS operatives.

Idlib is one of the last opposition strongholds in Syria, and has seen thousands of rebel fighters and civilians find refuge in the province over the past months following so-called "evacuation deals" in other parts of the country.

Syria's regime has emptied opposition areas around Damascus and other areas of inhabitants, allowing them and fighters to move to Idlib province.

Rebels fear Idlib will be the next target of the Syrian regime, which could spark another exodus of millions of civilians.