The Islamic State terror group executed 1,878 people, mostly civilians and including 120 of its own members, in Syria since it declared a "caliphate" in that country in June, according to a U.K.-based Syrian human-rights group.
The executions took place between June 28, the day ISIS declared "Caliphate" in Syria, and Dec. 27, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday.
Of the 1,878 people killed, 1,175 were civilians, which included four children and eight women, the group said. "They were executed by beheading, shooting or stoning" in the provinces of Deir Ezzor, al- Raqqa, al- Hasakah, Aleppo, Homs and Hama. more >>
Over 1,000 ISIS fighters, as well as 52 civilians, have been killed by U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria since operations began in September, a watchdog group has announced.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 1,171 people have been killed by airstrikes, a number which includes 1,046 ISIS fighters, 72 jihadists from the Jabhat al-Nusra group, and 52 civilians, including eight children and five women who were killed by strikes on oil fields and refineries.
The real death toll is likely to be much higher, the group said, noting that the war time situation across the region makes it difficult to get accurate numbers. more >>
Catholic group the Legions of Christ have reportedly uncovered a 1st-century synagogue in the ancient town of Magdala in Israel, where they say Jesus Christ is likely to have preached to the people.
"Eighty percent of Jesus' public life was here," Father Eamon Kelly said about northern Israel, according to Haaretz.com.
Kelly revealed that his organization uncovered the synagogue after starting archaeological excavations at a site in the town of Magdala, believed to be the home of Mary Magdalene, known as one of Jesus' female disciples. The plots of land are supposed to be used to build a pilgrims' hotel, inter-faith chapel, a restaurant and a women's shelter. more >>
Islamic State militants recently executed at least 100 of their own foreign fighters in the group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa after the fighters were caught trying to abandon the group's Syrian base, a source close to the conflict said.
The Financial Times reports that an unnamed anti-ISIS activist, who also opposes the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, has confirmed that ISIS executed the foreign fighters because they attempted to desert from the jihad after ISIS released a new set of rules designed to prevent fighters from deserting.
Although many fighters from all over the world are persuaded to join the Islamic State's jihad because ISIS recruiters tell them that they will help implement the correct brand of Islam, many foreign fighters, once they actually get involved in the conflict, become disillusioned by the horrible atrocities that are actually being committed by the group and want to flee from the conflict. more >>
Although hundreds of thousands of refugees are displaced from their homes in Iraq and their futures remain uncertain due to the siege of the Islamic State, The Vicar of Baghdad wrote in an online Christmas statement that Christian refugees in Iraq have not been deterred from exhibiting joy in the only thing they have left: the unconditional of Jesus.
Writing from his new temporary home in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, the Rev. Canon Andrew White, the only Anglican pastor in Iraq, said that even though ISIS has left these displaced Christian refugees with no homes, no clothes and, in some cases, no families, their faith remains strong in the "refugee child," Jesus.
"All you have got left is the love of that refugee child. That to us in the Middle East is all that matters this Christmas," White explained. more >>
A German author who recently traveled to the Middle East has declared that the Islamic State terrorist organization is "more dangerous than people realize."
Juergen Todenhoefer, an author and former politician who's been a critic of American foreign policy, recently went into territory held by ISIS to investigate the militant group.