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ISIS threatens to kill abducted women from al-Suwayda; people demand ISIS comply with their demands

Editing: Obaida Al Nabwani |
TranslationEditor: Farah Nassif |
Translation: Glory Jabr
Publication date: 2018/07/30 13:34

Al-Suwayda - SMART

On Saturday, the Islamic State (ISIS) threatened to kill abducted women from the governorate of al-Suwayda, Southern Syria, if the Syrian government does not respond to a number of ISIS' demands, according to an abducted woman speaking in a video.

ISIS demanded the Syrian government release a number of its members who are in Syrian government prisons and stop military operations against ISIS, in exchange for the release of the abducted women from the eastern countryside of al-Suwayda. Negotiators from al-Suwayda demanded ISIS release the women immediately and retreat from the villages of the eastern countryside.

A member of the National Committee for civil peace and the release of abductees and hostages, Najib Abu Fakhr, told SMART that ISIS demands included the release of its members from Syrian government prisons, and a cease fire on its controlled areas in the Yarmouk Basin. In addition, ISIS demanded the Syrian government withdraw its forces that pose a direct threat to ISIS up to 25 km to the west.

The demands also include preventing the Syrian government from using the territory of the governorate of al-Suwayda to fight ISIS, and from involving the people of the governorate in any battle between the two parties. In addition, ISIS and the people of al-Suwayda signed a joint document that includes ending the clashes between the two parties for one year, and ISIS promises to maintain the al-Suwayda representatives who will negotiate with it in the areas it controls. 

ISIS threatened to send the shreds of abducted women to their families if no agreement is reached.

Abu Fakhr said that 25 women are missing from the eastern countryside, some of them with their children. He said that ISIS announced that it had kidnapped 16 women. However, the residents found the bodies of two women and assumed that ISIS executed them to frighten the rest of the abductees.

Abu Fakhr explained that they responded to ISIS’ demands with a series of requests based on the popular orientation of the residents in the region and the families of the abductees. They demanded the immediate release of the abductees and threatened to end negotiations if their demands were not met. In addition, they demanded that ISIS stay at least 10km from the eastern border of al-Suwayda. All of ISIS’ movements within that area will be considered a target for local factions.

The negotiators demanded that ISIS provide lists of names and phone numbers of all persons involved - for any purpose - from inside the governorate with evidence. ISIS also must undertake not to attack persons or properties belonging to any Syrian in a-Suwayda. The negotiators added that any military action near the border of the governorate is reason to immediately revoke the agreement.

Abu Fakhr stated that ISIS didn’t expect to receive such a response. Abu Fakhr said that ISIS was expecting the negotiators to comply with its demands, which he described as “impossible and impractical.” He added that ISIS must direct these demands to the Syrian government and not to the people of al-Suwayda.

Abu Fakhr added that ISIS is serious about its threats to kill the abducted women. He added that one of the security men threatened to burn the women “as he burned the Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh,” and threatened to cut the children “as he cut two former prisoners a few days ago.”

On Wednesday, ISIS attacked seven villages east of the city of al-Suwayda, coinciding with explosions in the city carried out by ISIS’ members, killing more than 200 people, most of them civilians. Also, ISIS managed to kidnap about 30 people, all of them women and children. Later, ISIS published the photos of the abducted women and children in front of ISIS’  banner.

On May 22, the Syrian government transferred hundreds of ISIS members, who were controlling neighborhoods in Southern Damascus with their light and medium weapons, to the eastern countryside of al-Suwayda. Residents said that the Syrian government forces did not intervene to fight ISIS during its last attack, but sent a military convoy about 36 hours after the attack.