Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Takfiri militants killed 190 civilians and held over 200 others hostage in Syria’s western province of Latakia in August alone.
In a report released on Friday, the New York-based rights group presented evidence that anti-Syria terrorist groups carried out the killings and the hostage-taking in their several-day operation that began around Alawite villages in Latakia on August 4.
The 105-page report was compiled based upon on-site investigation and interviews with 35 people, including the survivors of the attacks.
According to the report, most of the killings apparently took place on the first day of the offensive. In some cases, the extremists executed or gunned down entire families. A vast majority of the hostages are also women and children.
The human rights organization further said the acts of violence “rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” calling on the UN Security Council to immediately take such cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The rights group also stressed that the scale and organization of the attacks on civilians suggest premeditation.
“This operation was a coordinated, planned attack on the civilian population in these Alawite villages,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
The HRW report also said over 20 militant groups took part in the operation, while many of the dead had been executed by al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.
Since the outbreak of the turmoil in Syria in March 2011, several video clips have been released showing the grisly crimes perpetrated by foreign-sponsored terrorists against innocent civilians in the country.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.