ISIS has “released” more than 270 of the 400 prisoners it had kidnapped from Deir Ezzor, Syria. The released prisoners, which include select men, women, and children, were “questioned” about their support to the official Syrian government.
The Islamic State group has released about 277 of more than 400 civilians it had abducted during its assault on the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, confirmed a Human Rights monitor. The radical Islamist group has been quite particular about whom to let go. Select women, men above the age of 55 and children less than 14 years have been released from captivity, stated Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
While the prisoners have been reportedly released after undergoing questioning by ISIS jihadists to determine whether they had ties to Syria’s regime, they aren’t allowed to return to their hometown in Syria, continued Abdel Rahman,
“They will not go back into Deir Ezzor city, but will be spread out among local tribes in the province.”
ISIS still holds about 130 civilians, most of whom are teenage children and adult men, reported CNN. Rahman added the group is currently questioning them about their loyalty towards the official government in Syria and could be conditionally released if the militants establish the civilians have no affiliation with the Syrian government,
“If IS sees that they have no ties to the Syrian government, they will take a religious course and will be released.”
It is not immediately clear what techniques of interrogation ISIS employed to get those kidnapped to talk or admit about their allegiance to the Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian government, which is currently engaged in ground based fighting with the ISIS militants in Syria and neighboring regions. Moreover, there’s no clarity where and how these kidnapped civilians will be distributed.
ISIS commonly trains young boys to become radical Islamists and arms them. These child soldiers are forced to fight alongside other jihadists and are routinely shot to death if they attempt to escape. The terror group is known to sexually abuse women and engage in sexual slavery. Reports indicate the group has enslaved about 4,000 civilians. Recently confiscated material from an ISIS operative indicates the group is open to illegally harvesting human organs, even from a living and unwilling donor.
According to Syria HR, whoever was found to be dealing with regime forces would be made to attend a Shariaa course. Such courses “educate” the youth, with the ideologies of ISIS, and encourage them to take up the cause of establishing a caliphate. The report added that the group had “arrested” five more men in the past 24 hours. According to Indian Express, ISIS recently captured Al-Baghaliyeh, a quiet agricultural area northwest of Deir Ezzor. Over 50 people, mostly men, were kidnapped during the attack. There has been no confirmation whether the people abducted were pro-regime fighters of innocent civilians engaged in the profession of agriculture.
Fighting in the Deir Ezzor has significantly intensified in recent times as ISIS has focused its efforts to capture the province that bears the same name. The region is strategically important to the group. According to Huffington Post, the province links Islamic State’s de facto capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa with territory controlled by the militant group in neighboring Iraq. The region is also close to oil fields that are controlled by the group and are currently under attack from the U.S.
During the barbaric attacks, ISIS reported killed about 300 civilians besides kidnapping 400 civilians. There was widespread panic as many gave up hope and had begun to believe those abducted would be killed as well. Though official numbers vary, about 60 percent of the Deir Ezzor province in Syria is now under the control of ISIS.
[Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images]