Islamic State has abducted around 900 civilians, mainly Kurds, in northern Syria over the past three weeks, a monitoring group said Friday.
This is coming as Kurd-led insurgents are attempting to dislodge the extremists from their strongholds in the area.
The kidnappings took place in villages near the Islamic State-controlled town of al-Bab in the north-east of Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“The 900 included some Arabs from the villages near al-Bab, but the majority are Kurds,” Observatory head Rami Abdel-Rahman told dpa.
The militants transferred some 350 of those abducted to al-Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State in Syria, he said.
The others were reportedly taken to detention centres inside Islamic State-held areas in northern Syria.
The extremists executed 13 civilians and shot dead five more who were attempting to escape, the Observatory said.
On May 31, the Kurd-led Democratic Forces of Syria (DFS), started an offensive to drive Islamic State from the northern town of Minbij, which is less than 20 kilometres from the Turkish border.
The DFS, a US-backed alliance of Arabs and Kurds, entered Minbij on Thursday.
Minbij, under Islamic State’s rule since 2014, is strategically important because of its location along a supply route from the Turkish border to al-Raqqa. (dpa/NAN)