Islamic State: Militants kill 50 from Iraqi Anbar tribe
Militants from Islamic State (IS) have killed at least 50 members of an Iraqi tribe in western Anbar province, officials and tribal leaders say.The men and women from the Al Bu Nimr tribe are reported to have been lined up and shot in retaliation for resisting the jihadists.A number of people from the same tribe were also found dead in mass graves earlier this week.IS militants control large areas of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
Meanwhile, AFP news agency quoted the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying that at least 100 IS fighters had been killed in three days of fighting for the strategic Syrian border town of Kobane.On Friday, some 150 Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters crossed from Turkey to join Syrian Kurds who have been defending the town against IS for six weeks.The Observatory says that more than 950 people have died in the battle, more than half of them from IS.Deliberate strategy
A local official told the Associated Press news agency that the Sunni Muslim tribesmen and women were killed on Friday in the village of Ras al-Maa, north of the provincial capital Ramadi.Faleh al-Issawi said many members of the tribe had to flee their homes near the town of Hit last month when it was captured by IS.The Al Bu Nimr tribe had joined the Shia-dominated government's campaign against IS.There have been many other such killings, as pressure mounts on the tribes to swing one way or the other.Analysts say mass killings are also a very deliberate strategy by IS to spread terror in their opponents.
One local official, Sabah Karhout, described the killings in Anbar province as a crime against humanity and called for more international support for Sunni tribes fighting the militants in Anbar.US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said the killing of Sunni tribesmen in Iraq by Islamic State fighters was the brutal "reality of what we're dealing with" in the conflict.The US carried out an air drop of food supplies, the first of its kind, to the Al Bu Nimr tribe just a few days ago.
IS has taken over large parts of Anbar province as it expands its territory, currently about one-third of both Iraq and Syria.The BBC's Jim Muir says the recently-formed Iraqi government is trying to win the Sunni tribes over, seeing them as a key element in the fight against IS, which in turn is trying to deter them from that course.But Baghdad has not yet succeeded in persuading the bulk of the tribes to turn on IS.The tribes want guarantees that they will be given a serious degree of devolution for their areas and a real say in national decision-making, our correspondent adds.