At least 27 hostages held by Islamic State in south Syria: Human Rights Watch

The group of mostly women and children were abducted by IS during a massive July 25 assault on the Druze community in Sweida, in which the jihadists killed more than 250 people.

Published: 25th August 2018 02:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th August 2018 02:05 PM   |  A+A-

The Syria army operation in the area, backed by air support from ally Russia, is separate from the battle for provincial capital Raqa city.

Image used for representational purpose.


BEIRUT: At least 27 people are being held by the Islamic State group in southern Syria, Human Rights Watch said Saturday as it deplored the hostage-taking as a "war crime".

The group of mostly women and children were abducted by IS during a massive July 25 assault on the Druze community in Sweida, in which the jihadists killed more than 250 people.

They are being held by IS to use as leverage in negotiations with the Syrian government and its ally Russia, according to HRW.

"Hostage-taking is a war crime," the rights group said.

ALSO READ | Man stabs mother and sister in Paris, Islamic State Group claims attack

"Civilian lives should not be used as bargaining chips," said its deputy Middle East director Lama Fakih.

Of more than 30 people taken hostage in the July offensive, at least two have since died.

A 19-year-old male student was beheaded and a video circulated of the killing, which was not released on the jihadists' usual channels. 

Later in August a 65-year-old woman died, with IS reporting she had been unwell.

Additionally, two women were able to escape after being abducted from their home, a family member told HRW. 

Villagers provided the names of at least 27 people who remain in IS captivity, with children as young as seven among them, according to activists in Sweida province.

The province is the heartland of Syria's Druze minority, followers of an offshoot of Shiite Islam who are are despised as heretics by the Sunni extremists of IS.

ALSO READ | Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urges 'jihad' in purported new recording

IS is seeking the release of jihadists captured by the government in the neighbouring province of Daraa, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier this month. 

The jihadists currently hold less than three percent of Syria, after losing swathes of territory to government forces backed by Russian firepower. 

But IS has proven it is still able to launch deadly attacks, with eight pro-government fighters killed and more than 60 wounded in an overnight raid in Sweida province. 

The attack brought to 54 the number of pro-government fighters killed in the past month, while 147 jihadsts have been killed, the Observatory said. 

Since the civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, more than 350,000 people have been killed and millions have fled their homes. 

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp