The Islamic State terrorist organization forced the families of four men accused of aiding United States-backed enemy forces to watch their loved ones as they were lit aflame and burned alive in a public execution carried out by militants in Syria on Tuesday.
According to eyewitnesses who spoke with the Kurdish news site ARA News, IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) executed four men in the group's Syrian stronghold of Deir Ezzor after the men were accused of aiding Kurdish forces in their fight against the twisted Islamic death cult.
The witnesses explained that the men were arrested by the IS police force, Diwan al-Hisba, over three months ago. The men were not only accused of supporting the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) but also charged by the militant group with having leaked information about IS' movements in Deir Ezzor to the YPG, acts that IS considers to be treason and even apostasy.
As YPG forces are a key component of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fight against IS, the men were convicted in IS' sharia courts.
In a statement, the sharia court in Deir Ezzor claimed that the men "confessed" to their crimes during "interrogations" and that the men were to be executed in one of the most heinous of ways.
"The sharia court called for the most brutal punishment for those four men," Ahmed Ramadan, a spokesman for the media activist campaign Deir Ezzor Is Being Slaughtered Silently told ARA News. "ISIS radicals burned them to death in public on Tuesday evening."
One witness, who chose to remain anonymous due to security concerns, told the outlet that the execution was witnessed by hundreds of onlookers.
"Hundreds of people witnessed the execution, including the victims' families who were forced to watch their sons being burned to death," the source said.
The source added that after the men were charred to death, extremists then proceeded to toss their bodies into the Euphrates River, denying them a proper burial.
The four men were executed just a day after the terrorist group released photos of a man who was crucified in the group's de-facto capital, Raqqa, Syria, on charges of being a spy for the "Crusader Coalition."
The execution of the four men and the release of the crucifixion images come as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces launched an offensive in Raqqa last month and are seeking to push IS completely out of its largest Syrian stronghold.
The operation, which is codenamed operation Wrath of Euphrates, was launched just weeks after Iraqi-led coalition forces launched an offensive in IS' largest Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.
A spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces announced that they have already recaptured 97 villages in West Raqqa in the 11 days since the second phase of the operation was launched.
The area that the forces have recaptured in Raqqa is said to measure about 501 square miles.
"At least 96 ISIS militants have been killed so far and seven militants arrested in this phase of the operation," Chin Sheikh Ahmed, the spokesperson for the operation, told ARA News. "Also, one ISIS militant surrendered with his family to the Syrian Democratic Forces."