ISIS frees 270 prisoners

2016-01-20 22:14


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Beirut - Islamic State militants have released 270 people from a group of 400 civilians its members kidnapped earlier this month near the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour, a monitoring group said Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of those released were women, children under the age of 14 and men aged more than 55.

The Britain-based group added that the terrorist militia had kept male prisoners whose ages range from 15 to 55 for more questioning. 

On Sunday, ISIS fighters abducted at least 400 people from the regime-held village of al-Baghaliyeh following a major assault on the area.

According to the Observatory, 50 new people were rounded up by the group in the past 24 hours in raids carried out on houses in the same village.

"We fear for the safety of the remaining group of prisoners; and we still do not know for sure if there are still women in captivity," the head of the Observatory Rami Abdel-Rahman told dpa.

Islamic State controls most of the Deir al-Zour province and its capital city, which has the same name.

The al-Qaeda breakaway group has been besieging regime-held areas in Deir al-Zour for more than a year.

In recent weeks, Islamic State strongholds in Syria have been the target of intensified airstrikes separately mounted by a US-led alliance and Russia.

Also on Wednesday, the Observatory reported that more than 1 000 civilians have been killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria since they began on September 30.

The raids have killed 1 015 civilians, including 238 children, and 2 034 fighters, according to a new toll released by the group.

More than 250 000 people are estimated to have been killed in Syria's conflict since it started in 2011, according to the UN figures.

Peace talks between government and opposition representatives are slated to start in Geneva on Monday, although Russia and the US, which respectively back the government and several factions in the fractured opposition, have yet to agree upon whom to invite.

Read more on:    isis  |  syria

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