Isil hostages freed by Syr­ian troops

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Worldwide -

Isil mil­i­tants shot and killed two chil­dren dur­ing an op­er­a­tion to lib­er­ate a group of hostages from south­ern Syria that had been held by the ter­ror group since July.

Syr­ian troops, led by Rus­sian of­fi­cers, lib­er­ated the 19 women and chil­dren held by Isil. The 19 women and chil­dren were among 30 peo­ple kid­napped in July when Isil am­bushed res­i­dents in the town of Sweida 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, dev­as­tated the com­mu­nity and 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.

The Rus­sian com­man­der who led the at­tack said the hostages were kept in bru­tal con­di­tions, keeping them in pits where they could barely sit or lie down, giv­ing them no food for days and pro­vid­ing no med­i­cal care.

Rus­sia is a key ally of Syr­ian pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad and wields sig­nif­i­cant power in the war-torn coun­try.

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