Incident Summary:

05/21/2015: Assailants executed at least 280 people, including government employees, Syrian Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers, Popular Committees members, and civilians in Palmyra, Homs governorate, Syria. The executions occurred over a four day period, lasting until May 25, 2015. No group claimed responsibility; however, sources attributed the attack to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).




Middle East & North Africa

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity Government of Syria
Specific Description Employees
Nationality of Target Syria
Target Type: Military
Name of Entity Syrian Armed Forces (SAF)
Specific Description Soldiers
Nationality of Target Syria
Target Type: Terrorists/Non-state Militia
Name of Entity Popular Committees
Specific Description Members
Nationality of Target Syria
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 280
US Hostages 0
Days of Kidnapping 4
Outcome Hostage(s) killed (not during rescue attempt)
Ransom No
Property Damage Unknown
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information Casualty numbers for this attack conflict across sources. Following GTD protocol, the majority reliable estimates are reported here.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 280 Fatalities
Total Number of Fatalities 280
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities Unknown
Total Number of Injured Unknown
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured Unknown
"ISIS 'slaughters 400 in Palmyra'," Brisbane Courier-Mail, May 24, 2015.
"Islamic State executes at least 400 people in Syria's Palmyra," Hindustan Times, May 24, 2015.
"'Arrests and liquidations' in Palmyra," The Gulf Today, May 23, 2015.