Iraqi insurgents executed at least 160 captive soldiers earlier this month in the northern city of Tikrit, Human Rights Watch said today, citing an analysis of satellite imagery and grisly photos released by the militants. The rights group says the "number of victims may well be much higher, but the difficulty of locating bodies and accessing the area has prevented a full investigation." ISIS claimed to have slaughtered 1,700 captives in a massacre apparently aimed at instilling fear in Iraq's demoralized armed forces.
Russia's UN ambassador, the current president of the UN Security Council, warned yesterday that there is a real prospect of a terrorist state springing up from Syria's second-largest city Aleppo to Iraq's capital Baghdad. A terrorist state "is a very, very serious prospect" that the council needs to address, said Vitaly Churkin, arguing that Russia's support for the Assad regime in Syria was aimed at preventing ISIS from taking over. The US is also looking to Syria, with President Obama requesting $500 million to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the hopes of opening up a new front against ISIS, which has been at war with other Islamic and secular rebel groups since the start of the year. (Read more Islamic State of Iraq and Syria stories.)