Syria: release of all druze hostages of Soueida held by the IS
The Syrian army has announced have liberated & oacute; all the druze hostages who had been killed. kidnapped at the end of July by the Islamic State group in the province of Soueida, during a surprise attack that ...
A photo dated October 20, 2018 shows druze hostages released by the Syrian army in Soueida. Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) / Handout via REUTERS
The Syrian army has announced that it has released all Druze hostages kidnapped in late July by the Islamic State group in the province of Soueida, during a surprise attack that left 250 dead, the majority of them civilians.
With our correspondent in Beirut, Paul Khalifeh
The 19 hostages were released during a special operation by the Syrian army in the Hmeime area, northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra, in central Syria.
The fact that the detainees were in this area several hundred kilometers from the province of Soueida, where they were abducted, shows that the Islamic State group still has great freedom of movement in the Badia, this vast desert which extends over the entire eastern half of Syria.
A military statement said the army killed all the kidnappers and freed 19 hostages, not 20, suggesting that the jihadists ' announcement of the murder of one of the women they held was true.
Public television broadcast images of veiled women, boys and at least one girl surrounded by men in military uniforms near a pickup truck in a desert landscape.
On July 25, the jihadists kidnapped 36 people in seven Druze villages attacked by surprise. Some had been murdered and others released.
The Syrian army has launched a massive offensive that has lasted for three months to drive the Islamic State group out of a volcanic rock area east of Soueida and free the hostages.