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Militants in Syria put victims' heads on poles; hundreds killed daily

Story highlights

  • Videos show severed heads on poles
  • The videos are purportedly of Islamic State having killed Syrian soldiers
  • In 10 days, 1,600 people have died in Syria, a human rights group says
  • More than 115,000 have died in the conflict, the group says

In some of the most gruesome images yet to emerge from the latest mass violence in Syria, videos show militants raising their victims' severed heads on poles.

The amateur videos emerged as a Syrian human rights group reported 1,600 deaths in just 10 days this month.

The latest images come from an area taken over by the militant terrorist group the Islamic State, which recently changed its name from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The group is known for killing dozens of people at a time and beheading some.

At least three videos posted on YouTube by different people show the grisly scene at a roundabout in the city of Reqqa, where Islamic State militants have been carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts decided by its Sharia, or Islamic law, court.

A narrator in one of the videos says the bodies are of Syrian soldiers who were killed by Islamic State fighters.

The videos surfaced online along with news that Islamic State took over the Syrian army's 17th Division headquarters, which was considered the Syrian regime's last remaining military base in Reqqa.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has tabulated casualties in the country's civil war, reported on Islamic State's seizure of the military base in late May.

While fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza has gotten far more attention in recent days, the death toll in Syria has been higher.

Between July 16 and July 25, 1,600 people were killed, the observatory said.

And the bloodshed has continued at that pace. On Sunday, 180 people were killed, the group said.

The observatory counts more than 115,000 people killed since the beginning of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in March 2011.