ISIS fighters have reportedly executed 175 of the 300 kidnapped cement workers outside the Syrian capital Damascus, according to the Syrian state’s military.

Extremists seized the labourers from an area close to the town of Dumeir, northeast of the capital. The jihadi group’s media arm have denied reports of the workers being massacred and insisted they have been released unharmed.

The hostages were taken near the spot where militants had launched an assault against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad earlier this week.

The workers and contractors of Al Badia Cement company were taken from near the town of Dumeir and their employer had lost all contact with them, the industry ministry is quoted as saying.

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