ISIS executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base

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ISIS executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base
These Are The UN Peacekeepers From Fiji That Were Captured by The Al-Nusra Front. #Syria #Iraq http://t.co/rF2GXP6UOf
In a picture taken from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, a United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) convoy manoeuvres in the buffer zone as they are escorted by Syrian rebel fighters on a motorcycle near the Syrian village of Jubata Al Khashab on September 2, 2014. Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels who are holding more than 40 United Nations peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights are demanding they be expunged from a UN terror blacklist, Fiji revealed. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
In a picture taken from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, a United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) convoy manoeuvres in the buffer zone as they are escorted by a Syrian rebel fighter on a motorcycle near the Syrian village of Jubata Al Khashab on September 2, 2014. Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels who are holding more than 40 United Nations peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights are demanding they be expunged from a UN terror blacklist, Fiji revealed. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
A United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) car enters the UN headquarters, in the demilitarised zone, near the Quneitra border crossing in the Israeli annexed Golan Heights on September 2, 2014. Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels who are holding more than 40 United Nations peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights are demanding they be expunged from a UN terror blacklist, Fiji revealed. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
In a picture taken from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, a United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) convoy manoeuvres in the buffer zone as they are escorted by Syrian rebel fighters on a motorcycle near the Syrian village of Jubata Al Khashab on September 2, 2014. Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels who are holding more than 40 United Nations peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights are demanding they be expunged from a UN terror blacklist, Fiji revealed. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
A United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) convoy is escorted by an Israeli army vehicle on the border of the buffer zone near the Druze village of Buqaata in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on September 2, 2014. Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels who are holding more than 40 United Nations peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights are demanding they be expunged from a UN terror blacklist, Fiji revealed. AFP PHOTO/ MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Fiji says no word on location of UN peacekeepers seized by Syria militants http://t.co/pEnKhNcIuj http://t.co/x87CWdTn0U
#GolanHeights reports in Manila say #fiji peacekeepers held by Al Qaeda Nusra .#Filipino PKs refusing to disarm http://t.co/xblMTKuq66
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (C) looks on following a press conference on August 25, 2014 in the Syrian capital Damascus. Any air strikes against jihadists in Syria must be coordinated with Damascus beforehand, Muallem said. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - AUGUST 24: Syrian people search for bodies of wounded and death Syrians after a bomb attack of Syrian regime forces on Syria's Zabadani region, close to the border with Lebanon in Damascus, Syria on 24 August, 2014. 10 people died during the bomb attack. (Photo by Yusuf al Bostany/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - AUGUST 24: Syrian people search for bodies of wounded and death Syrians after a bomb attack of Syrian regime forces on Syria's Zabadani region, close to the border with Lebanon in Damascus, Syria on 24 August, 2014. 10 people died during the bomb attack. (Photo by Yusuf al Bostany/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Syrian living in Jordan shouts slogans against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a rally outside of the Syrian Embassy in the capital Amman, on August 21, 2014, as they gather to mark the first anniversary of a chemical weapons attack on the capital's Ghouta region, a stronghold of the rebel movement, which the United States estimated killed up to 1,400 people. Human Rights Watch said that hundreds of victims of a chemical weapons attack in Syria remained without justice one year on, days after Damascus's stockpile was completely destroyed. AFP PHOTO/KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey hold a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, August 21, 2014. Hagel warned that the Islamic State is more than a traditional 'terrorist group' and better armed, trained and funded than any recent threat. 'They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well funded. This is beyond anything we have seen,' Hagel told reporters. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ,in Mari village, Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 17: A woman shows a photograph as more then thousand participants of several oriental christian groups gather to protest against the ongoing violence against their brethren in Iraq and Syria by ISIS fighters on August 17, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Tens of thousands of Yazidis, who practice their own religion and are neither Christian nor Muslim have fled targeted violence from ISIS Muslim Sunni fighters in the region of northern Iraq that borders Syria and Kurdish regions. ISIS has targeted Christians and Shia Muslims as well. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
Demonstrators at a rally supporting Kurdistan hold placards protesting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in front of the White House on August 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Jihadists carried out a 'massacre' in the northern Iraqi village of Kocho, killing dozens of people, most of them members of the Yazidi religious minority, officials said on Saturday. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA - AUGUST 15: A view of ruined buildings in El-Muleyha region of Damascus, seized by regime forces on previous day, in Damascus, Syria on 15 August, 2014. (Photo by Kasm Ebu Muhammed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HANOVER, GERMANY - AUGUST 16: Ethnic Yazidi wave flags and protest against the ongoing attacks against Yazidi in northern Iraq on August 16, 2014 in Hanover, Germany. Tens of thousands of Yazidi, who practice their own religion and are neither Christian nor Muslim, have fled targeted violence from ISIS Muslim Sunni fighters in the region of northern Iraq that borders Syria and Kurdish regions. An estimated 90,000 Yazidi live in Germany, more than in any other country in Europe. According to offical police sources, more than 10.000 demonstraters participated in the rally. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN ON A GOVERNMENT-GUIDED TOUR A Syrian government bulldozer clears the rubble and debris from a street in Mleiha on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on August 15, 2014. Syrian government forces retook the key town southeast of the capital on August 14, after a months-long battle against rebels, a military source and state television said. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)
THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN ON A GOVERNMENT-GUIDED TOUR Two men walk past the debris of building in Mleiha on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on August 15, 2014. Syrian government forces retook the key town southeast of the capital on August 14, after a months-long battle against rebels, a military source and state television said. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)
THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN ON A GOVERNMENT-GUIDED TOUR Syrian government forces gather around a map for instructions in Mleiha on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on August 15, 2014. Syrian government forces retook the key town southeast of the capital on August 14, after a months-long battle against rebels, a military source and state television said. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)
THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN ON A GOVERNMENT-GUIDED TOUR Syrian government forces flash the victory sign as they walk in a street in Mleiha on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on August 15, 2014. Syrian government forces retook the key town southeast of the capital on August 14, after a months-long battle against rebels, a military source and state television said. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ,in Mari village, Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ,in Mari village, Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ,in Mari village, Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ,in Mari village, Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ,in Mari village, Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ,in Mari village, Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Some of Syrians flee from Mari village due to the threat of ISIL in Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - AUGUST 18: Members of Syrian Islamic Front and Syrian opposition Mujahidin Brigade members guard to fight against the Islamic State (IS), formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ,in Mari village, Aleppo, Syria on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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(Reuters) - Islamic State militants have executed Syrian army soldiers and are holding a group of them hostage after capturing an air base in northeast Syria at the weekend, pictures posted on the Internet and on Twitter by supporters showed on Wednesday.

Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda, stormed Tabqa air base near Raqqa city on Sunday after days of fighting with the army that cost more than 500 lives, according to monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Tabqa was the army's last foothold in an area otherwise controlled by the militants, who have seized large areas of Syria and Iraq. The United States has carried out air strikes on the group in Iraq and is studying its options in Syria.

In one picture posted online, a group of militants in balaclavas are seen gunning down at least seven kneeling men identified as army personnel. Reuters was not able to immediately confirm the authenticity of the images or when exactly they were taken.

Other photos showed groups of eight to 10 soldiers in fatigues taken hostage, some with facial wounds. Three are identified as officers. The photos appeared to show at least two dozen hostages.

One picture reportedly shows the body of a pilot who had appeared on Syrian state television before the attack on the base explaining how the army could easily defend it. Others show militants holding up knives next to groups of captured men.

Syrian state television aired a report last week interviewing army personnel at the base and showing its defenses, just before Islamic State overran it.

On Sunday, Syrian state television said that after fierce battles, the military was "regrouping" and that there was a "successful evacuation of the airport" as the army continued strikes on Islamic State in areas close to the base.

Raqqa is a stronghold of Islamic State, and some people celebrated in the city after the capture of the air base.

The Observatory said at least 346 Islamic State fighters were killed and more than 170 members of the security forces had died in five days of fighting over the base, making it one of the deadliest clashes between the two groups since the start of Syria's war.

The photos posted online also showed the attack on the base, which used at least one tank. Later pictures showed bodies on the ground and abandoned military hardware, such as a jet, warplane munitions and missiles, although it was not clear if any were operational.

Syria said on Monday it would cooperate in any international effort to fight Islamic State militants, but a White House spokesman said on Tuesday there was no plan to coordinate with Damascus on how to counter the threat.

Obama Now Weighing Airstrikes in Syria to Combat IS

President Barack Obama approved U.S. surveillance flights to gather intelligence on the extremist group after the release of a graphic video last week showing the beheading of a U.S. journalist by an Islamic State fighter.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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