A Free Syrian Army fighter stands in front of a building destroyed by a Syrian Air force air strike in the Haresta neighborhood of Damascus on Jan 29, 2013. — Reuters Photo/File
A Free Syrian Army fighter stands in front of a building destroyed by a Syrian Air force air strike in the Haresta neighbourhood of Damascus on Jan 29, 2013. — Reuters Photo/File

BEIRUT: More than 100 civilians have been abducted by armed groups in the Syrian province of Idlib in separate incidents, a watchdog said on Friday, expressing alarm over what it said were “sectarian kidnappings”.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the kidnappings in the northwestern province occurred on Thursday in two separate incidents.

A group of some 70 men and women passengers on four mini-buses were abducted near an army checkpoint when travelling towards the provincial capital, also Idlib, by pro-regime armed men, said the Britain-based Observatory.

It said the kidnappers were from the Shia-majority villages of Al-Fua and Kafraya, while the passengers hailed from the mostly Sunni villages of Saraqeb, Sarmin and Binnish.

Hours before their abduction, in the same area, another armed group kidnapped at least 40 other civilians, mostly women and children, the Observatory said.

They had been travelling on a bus from Al-Fua and Kafraya villages, it said.

Most Syrian rebels fighting troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are Sunni, while the president's clan belongs to an offshoot of Shia Islam.

“I fear a rise in sectarian kidnappings,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said. “Such acts are detrimental to the revolution.”

The United Nations says almost 70,000 people have been killed so far in the Syrian conflict, which first erupted 23 months ago on Mar 15, 2011.

Opinion

Israeli flashpoint
Updated 12 May 2021

Israeli flashpoint

There are persistent reports from the US suggesting that the mood over unquestioning backing for Israel is shifting.
Blaming envoys for the mess
Updated 12 May 2021

Blaming envoys for the mess

The prime minister appeared to be using his container approach in the realm of foreign policy.
No entry, no Eid
12 May 2021

No entry, no Eid

On this Eid, amid this mess, many chairs at muted celebratory meals will remain empty.
Election night confusion
Updated 11 May 2021

Election night confusion

Poll manipulation in Pakistan occurs in the run-up to elections and on election day itself.

Editorial

PM’s Saudi visit
Updated 12 May 2021

PM’s Saudi visit

It is very important that Pakistan take no step, or agree to any demand, that can have an adverse effect on national sovereignty.
12 May 2021

A new intifada?

THE situation in the occupied territories over the past few days has been incendiary, with tensions boiling over as...
Updated 12 May 2021

SOP violations

ON Monday, Sindh Police officials were given a well-deserved slap on the wrist by a judicial magistrate in Karachi...
11 May 2021

Kabul massacre

AFGHANISTAN is a land that has seen plenty of massacres during decades of unrest. However, despite this almost...
Divisive move
Updated 11 May 2021

Divisive move

The whole point of these reforms is to ensure that all major political stakeholders are on board, and that there is a consensus.
11 May 2021

Bank loan concerns

THE combined gross non-performing loan portfolio of the country’s banks and DFIs increased marginally by 2.6pc or...