The Islamic State (IS) group on Sunday published a video showing the execution-style killing of five Syrian citizen journalists they kidnapped eight months ago in the east of the war-torn country.
The victims seen in the footage – which was posted on the blog of the group’s Al-Bayan radio – were all from the city of Deir Ezzor, 60 percent of which is controlled by IS.
A Britain-based monitor that works with sources inside Syria to collect information on the five-year conflict said it recognised one of the victims as a citizen journalist it had worked with.
The activists were kidnapped in Deir Ezzor in October and killed between November and December, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“The video was only published now because IS – who are losing ground in Syria – want to send a message that they are still strong,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The militant group has come under pressure in Syria, where a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance is pressing an offensive to retake its bastion of Manbij near the Turkish border.
It has also claimed to have killed activists in Turkey.
Last October, the decapitated bodies of two activists originally from Raqqa were found in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa, 55 kilometres from the Syrian border.
In late December, Syrian anti-IS filmmaker Naji Jerf was killed in the Turkish city of Gaziantep
And in April, Syrian journalist Mohammed Zaher al-Shurqat died in hospital after he was shot in the head by IS militants in the same city.