- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2015

Islamic State militants in Syria have demolished a Christian monastery in al-Qaryatain town in Homs province.

The militants have also moved Christians taken captive in the town to their headquarters in Raqqa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group. 

Islamic State fighters captured the town from government forces earlier this month. 

Militants used bulldozers to demolish the ancient monastery in the strategic town, which sits near a road linking the ancient Roman city of Palmyra to the Qalamoun mountains, along the border with Lebanon, Newsweek reported

The jihadist group took over Palmyra in May and reports surfaced this week that militants had publicly executed an antiquities expert in the city for refusing to reveal where ancient treasures had been hidden. 

The Syrian army has launched a large-scale counteroffensive to recapture the city, which lies in a region where some of Syria’s largest gas fields are located, but so far it has made no significant advances, Newsweek reported. 

The militants have consistently captured hundreds of Christian families with each new city they take over. Those who refuse to swear allegiance to the group’s self-declared “caliphate” are executed. 


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