Syria: ISIL crucifies prisoners, bulldozes historic statue

Photo from Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaeda breakaway group, has announced that it executed seven prisoners in its northeastern Syrian stronghold late on April 29, two of them by crucifixion.

In a written statement, the militant group said it had executed seven people in the city center of Raqqa, near Syria’s border with Turkey, according to a report by Anadolu Agency.
Meanwhile, ISIL militants bulldozed over the antique “Asad Sheeran” (Sheeran Lion) statue – one of the symbols of the city in the central al-Rasheed Garden – as they regarded it as an “icon and element of polytheism,” the human rights watchdog quoted Abu Ammar, a local activist in Raqqa, as saying.

Ammar said the statue, with its rich heritage, was of historical significance for the people of Raqqa, as opposed to an “icon.”

As historical records suggest, the stone statue consisting of two lions – reportedly dating back to the Assyrian period – was removed from the Ayn al-Arab district of Aleppo to Raqqa’s al-Rasheed Garden in 1983, where it was placed on two stone plinths in the western entrance of the garden.