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Negotiations underway for IS release of Sweida hostages in southern Syria
BY 2018-08-01 07:19:25

DAMASCUS, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Negotiations are underway between the Syrian army and the Islamic State (IS) for releasing hostages taken by the terrorist group in southern Syria during a recent offensive, a monitor reported on Tuesday.

Both sides are negotiating the release of 30 hostages abducted by IS in Sweida, including 14 women and 16 children, in exchange for the government forces' acceptance to grant a safe passage for 100 IS militants, which are the last IS members in the southern province of Daraa near Swedia.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the IS wants its fighters to be evacuated to IS-held areas in the Syrian desert region.

Last Wednesday, IS militants launched a wide-scale offensive on the eastern countryside of Sweida and carried out several bombings inside the city, killing 255 people and wounding hundreds of others.

The death toll is the highest in Sweida since the beginning of the Syrian war seven years ago.

The aim of the IS attack was to release the military pressure on the IS-held areas in the Yarmouk basin in the nearby western countryside of Daraa province.

During their offensive, the IS militants abducted women and children and took them as hostages.

Several scenarios were reported during the past few days, but the Observatory said Tuesday that the army has captured the entire Yarmouk basin area over the past 24 hours.

It said the army forces are hunting down the remaining 100 IS fighters, on which the negotiations are being held.

The Yarmouk basin in the last IS-held area in Daraa, which will make the entire province under the government control after military offensives and reconciliation deals that have been taking place with other militant groups since June 19.

(Editor:Li Zhaoqi) (From:xinhua)
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