Syria army frees Druze hostages from IS | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 09, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:12 AM, November 09, 2018

Syria army frees Druze hostages from IS

Syrian state media said yesterday the army has freed all remaining Druze women and children abducted in July from the southern province of Sweida by the Islamic State group.

The army "clashed directly with the IS terrorist organisation, which had abducted women and children from the Sweida province", state news agency SANA said.

Government troops "were able to liberate all the 19 hostages... and kill the terrorist kidnappers", it added.

State television broadcast images of veiled women, boys and at least one girl surrounded by men in military uniforms near a white pick-up truck in a desert landscape.

It said the images were broadcast from the desert near the ancient city of Palmyra in the centre of the country.

IS jihadists abducted around 30 people -- mostly women and children -- from Sweida in late July during the deadliest attack on Syria's Druze community of the seven-year civil war.

Nour Radwan, a journalist based in Sweida, confirmed the liberation but said the women and children were freed in a prisoner exchange deal.

"The freeing of the remaining hostages came as part of a prisoner swap deal, and today was the second stage of that deal," he told AFP.

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