The Islamic State jihadist group Tuesday executed at least 37 civilians, including two children, in a raid on a regime-held village in Hama province of central Syria, a monitor said.
IS “executed at least 37 people, including women and children, by burning, beheading, and firing on them” in the village of Mabujeh, said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Syrian state television reported that 44 people were killed and 21 injured in the raid.
Mabujeh, east of the provincial capital Hama, has a population of Sunni Muslims as well as Alawites and Ismailis, minority sects that are offshoots of Shiite Islam.
IS has regularly targeted minority sects in Syria, especially Shiite Muslims it accuses of apostasy, as well as Sunnis who it alleges have violated its interpretation of Islam.
Mabujeh lies near a vital road that serves as the regime’s only link between the central province of Homs and the northern province of Aleppo.
IS militants have repeatedly tried to sever the route.
In late March, the extremist group killed 83 regime soldiers in the region in a bid to gain control over the road.
In northwest Syria, the Observatory said Tuesday, at least 32 people were killed in government air strikes on the city of Idlib in the past 48 hours.
Regime forces lost control of the city Saturday to a coalition of Islamist forces led by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front.
In Geneva, the UN’s human rights office said it was worried about the situation in the city.
“We are deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Idlib” after the rebel takeover, spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly said at a briefing.
Pouilly said the UN was concerned about reports of an attack on a hospital run by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in the city.
Syria’s Red Crescent published photos of destruction at its Idlib hospital on Facebook, but did not give details on how it had been damaged.
Pouilly also voiced UN concerns over the fate of Fuaa and Kafraya, two Shiite-majority villages near Idlib city.
One of the leaders of the Islamist coalition that captured Idlib warned Sunday that the two villages would be targeted if the regime bombed Idlib.
Syria’s conflict began with peaceful demonstrations in 2011 but has since spiralled into a bloody civil war that has left more than 215,000 people dead.