DAMASCUS, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic State (IS) militants have executed 700 tribesmen in Syria's eastern province of Deir al- Zour, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV cited the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying on Saturday.
The IS militants have been on a crushing battle against some of the tribesmen of the oil-rich Deir al-Zour province, bordering Iraq, since the beginning of this month.
The observatory said that the 700 people were from the al- Shuaitat tribe, adding that they were executed within the past two weeks.
The tribesmen battles against the IS have been ignited by the crimes the IS had committed against the civilians and tribesmen of Deir al-Zour.
The tribes of Deir al-Zour are an influential force and instrumental in regaining control over the oil-rich province that has for long spiraled out of the government control and fallen to the IS.
The IS, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has recently proclaimed the establishment of an " Islamic Caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq, and changed its name into the "Islamic State."
The group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who commands tens of thousands of fighters, said their goal is to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria to fight the Shiite government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and that of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose top ranks are from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Syria has been gripped by deadly conflict since March 2011. Over 160,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence.