An estimated 200 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in religious killings in Syria, including attacks on mosques, churches, and Islamic institutions, a monitor says.
The Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors violence and persecution in Syria and the Middle East, said the latest attack targeted a mosque in the northwestern city of Homs and killed more than 40 people on Friday.
A Syrian Christian woman said she had witnessed the killing of about 10 people inside the mosque when she went to check on the wounded, and she saw the body of one of the victims lying in the street.
“I went to the mosque and saw his body, I saw his head, his hands and legs, I heard his screams and saw him bleeding,” the woman, who gave her name as Tareq, told the Al Jazeera English channel.
The victim was reportedly one of more than 150 people killed in Syria on Friday in attacks targeting mosques, Islamic institutions and churches, according to the Observatory.
The Syrian government, which is fighting a three-year-old uprising, has blamed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) for most of the killings, saying the militants are responsible for targeting churches, churches and other places of worship.
The observatory said the government also blamed the militant group for the attack on a Christian woman in Homs on Wednesday, where more than 100 people were killed in what the Observatory called a “terror attack” by “armed gangs”.
The Syrian Observatory said at least two mosques have been targeted in Homs in recent days.
It did not specify which mosque.
The government has accused ISIL of carrying out attacks on churches, saying in a statement on Friday that “terrorists” from ISIL are responsible.
The Observatory, however, has reported attacks on dozens of churches.
The UN human rights office in Geneva said in a report last month that more than 50,000 Christians have fled Syria since the conflict began in March 2011, according the Syrian Observatory for Rights.
Syrian Christians and other religious minorities have faced a string of attacks over the past year, including a spate of killings and the detention and torture of thousands of Christians.
In November, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions said Syria was “one of the worst countries in the world for religious minorities”.