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IS threatens to murder Druze women hostages

Syria's Druze feel caught in the middle [AFP]

Date of publication: 29 July, 2018

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IS issued a statement on Saturday, warning it would murder a group of Druze women hostages held by the militants in Syria.
A group of Syrian women - belonging to the minority Druze faith - held hostage by the Islamic State group face death, unless Damascus agrees to the demands of the militants, the hostages have warned in a video.

Photos have circulated on social media this week showing the images of 14 women held captive by IS following the militants' bloody assault on Druze villages in southern Syria last Wednesday.

More than 220 people - mostly civilians - were killed when IS militants stormed the Druze villages in Suweida and detonated suicide bomb belts in the provincial capital.

It is assumed that the women held captive by the militants were taken hostage during these raids, which were only ended after locals and Druze militias fought back the surprise IS assault.

In the images shared on social media, the women are seen wearing headscarves and standing in front of the banner used by IS.

A video released by IS on Saturday shows one woman pleading with the regime to do what they can to secure their freedom or the hostages will be killed.

"We call on Bashar Assad and Kinana Hweijeh to release Daesh [IS] prisoners of war and to halt the offensive launched on the Yarmouk [Valley] Basin," a woman who identifies as Swaad Adeeb Abo Ammar told the camera, according to Orient News.

"If they do not do what we ask, Daesh will kill us," she added.

Syrian regime officials are said to be in contact with IS to about the women, according to the opposition site.

Despite their pleas, the Assad regime have continued their offensive on the last IS enclaves in southern Syria.

Syrian regime militias captured a number of villages in the Yarmouk Valley areas over the weekend, while a new offensive was launched on an IS pocket of territory in the Syrian Desert that was believed to be the launch pad for the Suweida massacre.

The offensives brings fresh fears that the hostages could be murdered by IS in retaliation.
The loss of control of Suweida by IS has brought fresh criticism of the regime, due to the collapse of security in a province that was always susceptible to jihadi attacks.

Syria's Druze - an offshoot of Ismaili Islam - live mostly in remote Suweida province. Despite the relative calm in the province, there has been unease after the regime pulled security from the area and allowed IS militants from Damascus to vacate to a desert region bordering Suweida.

Some have suggested that the regime allowed IS to attack due to its anger over the Druze community's sense of neutrality and independence during the war. 

Others have criticised the regime for concentrating its forces on offensives in Daraa province, leaving other parts of southern Syria unguarded.

A group of Syrian women - belonging to the minority Druze faith - held hostage by the Islamic State group face death, unless Damascus agrees to the demands of the militants, the hostages have warned in a video.

Photos have circulated on social media this week showing the images of 14 women held captive by IS following the militants' bloody assault on Druze villages in southern Syria last Wednesday.

More than 220 people - mostly civilians - were killed when IS militants stormed the Druze villages in Suweida and detonated suicide bomb belts in the provincial capital.

It is assumed that the women held captive by the militants were taken hostage during these raids, which were only ended after locals and Druze militias fought back the surprise IS assault.

In the images shared on social media, the women are seen wearing headscarfs and standing in front of the banner used by IS.

A video released by IS on Saturday shows one woman pleading with the regime to do what they can to secure their freedom or the hostages will be killed.

"We call on Bashar Assad and Kinana Hweijeh to release Daesh [IS] prisoners of war and to halt the offensive launched on the Yarmouk [Valley] Basin," a woman who identifies as Swaad Adeeb Abo Ammar told the camera, according to Orient News.

"If they do not do what we ask, Daesh will kill us," she added.

Syrian regime officials are said to be in contact with IS to about the women, according to the opposition site.

Despite their pleas, the Assad regime have continued their offensive on the last IS enclaves in southern Syria.

Syrian regime militias captured a number of villages in the Yarmouk Valley areas over the weekend, while a new offensive was launched on an IS pocket of territory in the Syrian Desert that was believed to be the launchpad for the Suweida massacre.

The offensives brings fresh fears that the hostages could be murdered by IS in retaliation.

The loss of control of Suweida by IS has brought fresh criticism of the regime, due to the collapse of security in a province that was always susceptable to jihadi attacks.

Syria's Druze - an offshoot of Ismaili Islam - live mostly in remote Suweida province. Despite the relative calm in the province, there has been unease after the regime pulled security from the area and allowed IS militants from Damascus to vacate to a desert region bordering Suweida.

Some have suggested that the regime allowed IS to attack due to its anger over the Druze community's sense of neutrality and independence during the war. 

Others have criticised the regime for concentrating its forces on offensives in Daraa province, leaving other parts of southern Syria unguarded.

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