According to Syrian news agency, SANA, 52 bodies – including 11 women and 17 children – were recovered. Many had been beheaded or had missing limbs and reports say that bricks were used to kill children.
The brutal attacks took place in the central Hama province, close to the town of Salamiyeh and the main road linking nearby Homs to Aleppo – both government-controlled cities.
Militants targeted the villages of Aqareb and Al-Mabujeh where a majority of residents belong to the Ismaili branch of Shiite Islam.
The massacre began when ISIS fighters attacked homes in the village of Aqareb al-Safi. The army and allied militia were eventually able to form a solid resistance, pushing the attackers back into the desert.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a man and his two children were executed with knives.
The head of the National Hospital in Salamiyeh, Dr. Noufal Safar, told the Associated Press that some of the bodies were mutilated, beheaded or had their limbs severed. He added that most appeared to have died as a result of gunfire.
Rami Razzouk, a coroner at the hospital where the bodies were inspected, said the children brought in were mostly dismembered while the majority of men had died as a result of shelling or heavy machine-gun fire.
He added that at least nine of the dead children had suffered head injuries after being beaten with heavy objects such as bricks.
ISIS confirmed its capture of Aqarib al-Safi on social media.
(Top image: Reuters)