As reported by Free Malaysia Today, the Islamic State group better known as ISIS has released six Druze hostages as part of an agreement with the Syrian government. More releases are forthcoming as the Islamic State is set to release all hostages in exchange for 60 Islamic State prisoners held by the Syrian government as well as a US$27 million ransom.
In late July of this year, the extremist group abducted some 30 members of Syria’s Druze community. Most of the hostages taken were women and children from the city of Sweida, a Druze stronghold located in southwestern Syria near the Jordan border.
Alongside the kidnappings, the Islamic State engaged in a series of shootings, stabbings, and suicide bombings that left hundreds of civilians dead across the southwest of Syria this July.
In August, the Islamic State executed one of the hostages, a 19-year-old male student, and in October another hostage was executed, a 25-year-old female. A third hostage, a 65-year-old female, reportedly died from illness in captivity.
Families of the hostages continue to demand action be taken by the Syrian government to free the prisoners immediately before more blood can be shed.