BEIRUT (AP) -- The Islamic State group has killed dozens of Syrian soldiers it captured after overrunning a military base in northeastern Syria, shooting some and using knives on others in the latest brutal mass killing attributed to the extremists, activists said Thursday.<br />
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants rounded up the soldiers in the arid countryside on Wednesday near the Tabqa airfield, three days after seizing the base in heavy fighting. The government troops were among a large group of soldiers from the base who were stuck behind the front lines after the airfield fell to the jihadi fighters.<br />
Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman said the extremists killed up to 65 soldiers. He said some were shot to death, while others were killed with knives.<br />
A statement posted online and circulated on Twitter by supporters of the Islamic State group claimed the extremists killed "about 200" government prisoners captured near Tabqa.<br />
It also showed photographs of what it said were the prisoners: young men stripped down to their underwear marching in the desert. The photos could not immediately be verified, but correspond to other AP reporting.<br />
The photos and reported mass killing underscored how the group uses violence - and images of violence - to terrorize its opponents, as it sweeps further into Syria and Iraq. The group has declared an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the territories it controls straddling the border.<br />
On Wednesday, a U.N. commission accused the extremist group of committing crimes against humanity in Syria. The U.N. has accused the group of similar crimes in Iraq.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
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