Around a third of the 200,000 people living in the Syrian town of Palmyra may have fled in the past few days, during fighting between government forces and Islamic State militants, the UN human rights office said on Thursday. Citing what she said were credible sources, UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani in Geneva also said there were reports of government
forces preventing civilians leaving until they themselves fled and Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, took control of the city. “ISIL has reportedly been carrying out door-to-door searches in the city, looking for people affiliated with the government. At least 14 civilians are reported to have been executed by ISIL in Palmyra this week,” Shamdasani said in emailed comments.