[JURIST] The Islamic State (IS) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] executed 1,878 people in Syria over the past six months, reported [press release] the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) [official website] on Sunday. Of those killed, 120 were members of IS who were foreign fighters trying the leave the ranks and head home. However, the majority of those executed were civilians. The head of the SOHR, Rami Abdulrahman, said 930 civilians were members of the al-Sheitaat, a Sunni Muslim tribe located in eastern Syria. The tribe fought [Aljazeera report] IS in July over control of two oil fields. Many civilians were executed for actions that were seen as violating Islamic law, such as stealing, blasphemy, adultery and homosexuality.
IS [JURIST backgrounder], also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] stated in November that the ICC is contemplating bringing war crimes [JURIST report] charges against IS jihadist fighters. Earlier last month the UN commission of inquiry for the Syrian Arab Republic [official website] reported [JURIST report] that IS is responsible for war crimes on a “massive scale” in Syria. Also in November Human Rights Watch reported that IS militants tortured and abused [JURIST report] Kurdish children in Syria. The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic [official website] expressed grave concerns [JURIST report] in October about escalating violence against civilians.