Russian President Vladimir Putin reports 700 hostages seized by IS in Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin said IS fighters have captured hundreds of hostages, including several US and European nationals. He said they were taken from an area controlled by US-backed forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said “Islamic State” (IS) militants had seized almost 700 hostages in a part of Syria controlled by US-backed forces.
Speaking at an international policy forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, Putin said that some of the hostages had been executed and that IS had promised it would kill more.
The hostages included several US and European nationals, the Russian leader said, adding that IS was expanding its control in territory on the left bank of the River Euphrates which had been controlled by US and US-backed forces.
“They have issued ultimatums, specific demands and warned that if these ultimatums are not met they will execute 10 people every day. The day before yesterday they executed 10 people,” Putin told the 15th annual edition of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think tank with close links to the Kremlin.
Putin did not elaborate on the militants’ demands.
He also praised Turkish efforts to set up a demilitarized zone in Syria’s province of Idlib. Last month Russia and Turkey agreed on a withdrawal of Syrian radical groups and heavy weapons from the northern province: “Turkish partners are doing all they can to fulfill their obligations,” he said.
Families taken to Hajin
The Russian state-run TASS news agency on Wednesday quoted an anonymous military source as saying that IS militants had taken around 700 hostages in Syria’s Deir-al Zor province after attacking a refugee camp in an area controlled by US-backed forces on October 13.
“As a result, they took hostages and transported about 130 Arab families to [the city of] Hajin, which is under their control,” the source said, according to TASS.
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