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  ISIS frees 270 of 400 abducted civilians in Syria

ISIS frees 270 of 400 abducted civilians in Syria

AFP
Published : Jan 21, 2016, 6:10 am IST
Updated : Jan 21, 2016, 6:10 am IST

The ISIS group has released 270 of more than 400 civilians it had abducted during its assault on the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, a monitor said.

The ISIS group has released 270 of more than 400 civilians it had abducted during its assault on the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, a monitor said.

Those released included women, children under 14 years old, and the elderly, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

He said they had been freed late on Tuesday after undergoing questioning by ISIS jihadists to determine whether they had ties to Syria’s regime.

“They will not go back into Deir Ezzor city, but will be spread out among local tribes in the province,” Mr Abdel Rahman said.

ISIS still holds 130 civilians, mostly teenage and adult men, whom Mr Abdel Rahman said were being questioned.

“If ISIS sees that they have no ties to the Syrian government, they will take a religious course and will be released,” he said.

The assault on Deir Ezzor has seen the jihadists tighten their siege on the eastern Syrian city and left residents terrified and fearing the worst.

Fierce clashes have relentlessly rocked the city’s northern edges after a multi-front offensive on Saturday that cost the lives of dozens of people.

ISIS jihadists overran Al-Baghaliyeh, one of the last areas on the city’s outskirts known for the production of food.

The extremists now control 60 per cent of Deir Ezzor city, intensifying a siege that had already caused fear and hardship for the roughly 200,000 people still living inside.

Around 70 per cent of the city’s remaining residents are women and children, according to the United Nations.

“People are afraid, the situation is very difficult,” said Attiyeh, a resident of Deir Ezzor who spoke by phone from the city.

“Food and vegetables are rare, and we’re starting to have problems with bread,” he added.

“If the city falls there will be a massacre,” he said.

On Saturday, ISIS launched a bloody offensive on Deir Ezzor, with dozens of its fighters carrying out suicide bomb attacks as they stormed regime positions.

Location: Lebanon, Beirut