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Daesh terrorists holding 27 hostage in Syria’s Sweida, says HRW

In this file picture, Daesh Takfiri terrorists engage in street-to-street fighting in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus, Syria.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group are holding 27 people captive in Syria’s southwestern province of Sweida, condemning the hostage-taking as a “war crime.”

The New York-based international non-governmental organization said on Saturday that the abductees mostly consist of women and children, who were kidnapped on July 25 when Daesh launched a massive assault on the Druze community in the province and killed more than 250 people.

HRW stressed that the Takfiris are holding the civilians hostage in order to use them as bargaining chips in negotiations with the Damascus government and Russia.

“Civilian lives should not be used as bargaining chips,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at HRW.

There are reports that at least two people have died ever since Daesh extremists took more than 30 people hostage in the July offensive.

A 19-year-old male student was beheaded, and a 65-year-old woman died earlier this month.

Moreover, two women managed to escape captivity.

Villagers have provided the names of at least 27 people being held by Daesh. Children as young as seven are among them, according to activists in Sweida province.

Syrians wave the national flag in the town of Quneitra in the Syrian-controlled section of the Golan Heights on July 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Syrian army troopers, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have recently made major territorial gains in battles against Daesh and other foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups, almost capturing the entire southern part of the country after securing the capital Damascus and other key areas.

The major militant stronghold remains in the northwestern province of Idlib, where government forces are preparing to launch a full-scale military operation.

Takfiri militants are also in control of some areas of the western-central province of Hama, and are holding some desert regions near the border with Turkey.

Moreover, negotiations have been taking place between the political wing of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are backed by the US, and the Syrian government on ways to end violence in Syria.

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