12 executed in Syria's Raqqa: Syrian Human Rights

The militant group, ISIL have executed a total of 12 people in Raqqa for allegedly

The militant group, ISIL have executed a total of 12 people in Raqqa for allegedly "fighting against Muslims and plotting mischief"

DAMASCUS - The militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executed 12 people in the north-central Syrian city of Raqqa and pulled down a famous historic Assyrian statue, according to the London-based Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR). 

In a written statement, the group said the militant organization executed seven people by firing squad in the city center late Tuesday, claiming "they were fighting against Muslims and plotting mischief."

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also executed three people from the "Liwa al-Islam" group, of the Islamic Front, along with two others in Salluq area on charges of "targeting the ISIL," said the human rights group.

ISIL is reportedly clashing with the "Liwa al-Islam" in rural Raqqa, which was the largest opposition group in Damascus but now merged into "Jaysh al-Islam" (Army of Islam).

- Militants demolished historical statue in Raqqa

ISIL militants bulldozed over the antique "Asad Sheeran" (Sheeran Lion) statue - one of the symbols of the city in the central Al-Rasheed Garden, since they regard it as an "icon and element of polytheism," the London-based human rights watchdog quoted Abu Ammar, a local activist in Raqqa.

Ammar said the statue is of historical significance with its rich heritage 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 Ayn al-Arab district of Aleppo to Raqqa's Al-Rasheed Garden in 1983, and placed on two stone plinths in the western entrance of the garden.

Raqqa and its surroundings remain under the helm of the radical group ISIL for months. ISIL, which is active in Syria’s eastern and northern regions, fight against both the Free Syrian Army in a bid to establish their own sovereign state, while mostly avoiding confrontation with forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad regime.

The Free Syrian Army main opposition group, along with the Al Nusra Front and the Syrian Islamic Front, initiated wide-ranging operations against the ISIL toward the end of 2013.

A report published in January by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ISIL was responsible for killing nearly 200 civilians and arresting over 2,000 over an eight-month period up to January.

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