IS murder teenage Druze hostage, as Syria talks collapse

IS murder teenage Druze hostage, as Syria talks collapse
IS have killed a 19-year-old hostage following a raid in Syria's Suweida region.
3 min read
05 August, 2018
Syria's Druze live mostly in Suweida and the Golan [AFP-file photo]
A teenage Druze hostage held by the Islamic State group has been murdered by his captors, media announced on Sunday, as talks between the Syrian regime and militants break down.

Two videos were released by the militants to his family showing the murder of the 19-year-old male student, who was held along with dozens of other Druze hostages following IS raids in Suweida province last month.

His family received two videos, one showing the student being decapitated and footage of his body, and another showing him speaking before his death.

He was taken by the militants along with his mother during a horrific raid by IS on his village al-Shabki on 25 July, which left scores dead and dozens taken hostage.

The student was shown bound, wearing a black t-shirt and sitting in a rocky landscape before his murder, according to AFP.

IS have not announced the hostage's killing, but the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed his murder, which comes after talks between the militants and Syrian regime collapsed.

"[It comes] after the failure of talks between IS and regime forces over the transfer of IS fighters from the southwest of Daraa province to the Badiya [desert region]," the observatory said.

IS killed at least 250 people during their raids and bomb attacks in the Druze-majority Suweida province on 25 July, having entered the province via a small holdout in the Syrian Desert region.

Druze villagers managed to fightback and drive out IS, but not before the militants kidnapped a number of locals.

At least 36 Druze women and children were held hostage by IS from one village, with images released of some of the captives.

A video has also been shared by the group showing one of the woman hostages saying all could be murdered by the militants unless IS' demands are met.

Four women have escaped, while two had died, leaving 14 women and 16 children in IS captivity, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Another 17 men were unaccounted for but it was unclear if they are being held by IS.

The Druze are an off-shoot of Ismaili Islam and considered heretics by IS.

They mostly live in Syria's Suweida province, which has remained relatively isolated from the war.

Many Druze have criticised the Syrian regime for the security breakdown which led to the IS raids in Suweida.

Syria's regime allowed IS militants to evacuate from a Damascus suburb to the Syrian Desert region, with no security barrier between the fighters and Suweida.

Druze villagers were left to fend for themselves when the attack happened, with regime forces only entering the area after the last IS fighters had been killed by locals or fled.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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