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IS Militants Abduct 400 Civilians In Eastern Syria, Monitor Says

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has abducted at least 400 people, including women and children, after capturing new territory in eastern Syria, a monitoring group said on January 17.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants had moved the captives from the government-controlled village of al-Baghaliyeh, on the northern edge of Deir al-Zour city, after a major attack on the area on January 16.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said family members of pro-government fighters were among those abducted.

"We fear that the 400 will be executed or enslaved by the organization on the pretext that they are loyal to the regime," Rahman told the dpa news agency.

Syria's state news agency SANA said earlier that at least 300 people had been killed by IS fighters in the attacks in Deir al-Zour.

SANA said most of those killed in the January 16 attacks were elderly people, women, and children.

Opposition activists said many of the victims were Syrian soldiers and pro-government militiamen and their families.

IS militants control most of Deir al-Zour province and its capital city of the same name.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, AP, and AFP