2 killed children among liberated Syrian hostages held by Daesh

A handout picture released by SANA on November 9, 2018 shows one of a group of Druze women, who were abducted in July from Sweida by Daesh, talking to the media upon their arrival overnight in their hometown in Sweida. (AFP / SANA)
Updated 09 November 2018
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2 killed children among liberated Syrian hostages held by Daesh

  • Daesh militants shot and killed two children during an operation to liberate a group of hostages from southern Syria that were being held by the extremist group since July
  • Nashaat Abu Ammar said his 8-year-old son Raafat was among the two boys shot dead during the Syrian army raid to free the hostages

DAMASCUS: Daesh militants shot and killed two children during an operation to liberate a group of hostages from southern Syria that were being held by the extremist group since July, a father and activists said Friday.
Nashaat Abu Ammar, a resident of Sweida whose wife, two sons and daughter were among those being held by Daesh, said his 8-year-old son Raafat was among the two boys shot dead during the Syrian army raid to free the hostages. A 13-year-old boy, Qusay, was also killed.
“They shot him in his mother’s lap,” Abu Ammar told The Associated Press by telephone from Sweida, his voice breaking up with emotion.
State media reported Thursday evening that troops liberated the 19 women and children held by Daesh in a military operation in central Syria, triggering celebrations in Sweida. “My happiness is huge,” Abu Ammar, reached by the AP, said then.
His happiness was crushed hours later when the group of hostages arrived in Sweida. Among them was the body of Raafat and his 13-year-old cousin. His wife appeared very frail, he said, adding that the group was barely being fed to stay alive.
The 19 women and children were among 30 people kidnapped by Daesh in Sweida on July 25 when militants of the extremist group ambushed residents and went on a killing spree that left at least 216 people dead.
The rare attacks in the province, populated mainly by Syria’s minority Druze, came amid a government offensive elsewhere in the country’s south. The coordinated attacks across the province, which included several suicide bombings, shattered the calm of a region that had been largely spared from the worst of the violence of Syria’s seven-year long civil war.
Since July, one woman died in Daesh custody while another was shot dead by the extremists. In August, a 19-year-old man was also killed in detention.
Six other hostages, two women and four children, were freed in an exchange with the government last month. Negotiations were expected to free the remaining hostages but the talks failed and Syrian troops launched a broad offensive against Daesh in southern Syria.


Several killed in blast in northwest Syria

Updated 52 min 35 sec ago
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Several killed in blast in northwest Syria

  • It was not clear if the cause of the blast near the market in the town of Jisr Al-Shughur was a car bomb, or a vehicle carrying explosives
  • All except one were civillians

BEIRUT: Fifteen people, all but two civilians, were killed in an explosion in the jihadist-held region of Idlib in northwest Syria on Wednesday, a war monitor said.
The cause of the blast in the town of Jisr Al-Shughur was not immediately clear, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“The explosion hit next to the market,” killing 13 civilians, including the daughter of a foreign fighter, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
“It is not known until now whether it was a car bomb, or the explosion of a car carrying explosives,” he added.
The Idlib region is under administrative control of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
But the Turkestan Islamic Party, a group of foreign jihadists from the ethnic Uighur Muslim minority, also has a large presence in Jisr Al-Shughur.
The Islamic State jihadist group has sleeper cells in the wider Idlib region.
Idlib has since September been protected from a massive regime offensive by a fragile cease-fire deal signed by Damascus ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.
But the region of some three million people has come under increasing bombardment since HTS took full control of it in January.
On Tuesday, regime shelling killed seven civilians, including four children, in the town of Khan Sheikhun.
Increased regime shelling on Khan Sheikhun has sparked one of the largest waves of displacement since the September deal.
Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since the conflict began with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011.