Around 30 women and children have been IS captives since July, when the group staged a slew of attacks targeting their hometown Sweida
Dozens of Syrian Druze captives pleaded to be saved from the Islamic State (IS) group in a recent video, bringing to the forefront a hostage situation that began in July with the group’s bloody attacks on Sweida.
Around 30 forlorn-looking women and children, with the youngest only a few years old, appeared in the 47-second video, huddled on the floor in a room with peeling paint.
The video, whose authenticity Middle East Eye could not immediately confirm, was published on Wednesday by a Facebook page created to support those kidnapped. The "Page for Sweida hostages" said it had received the video from IS itself, but did not immediately respond to an MEE request for comment.
Nearly 250 people were killed by Islamic State suicide bombings and shootings in southern Syria yesterday. Here's what we know so far: pic.twitter.com/fwcvTmiM8c
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) July 26, 2018
Sweida, the southern government-held province of Syria, had survived much of the destruction and death caused by the years-long civil war that has gripped the country. A large majority of the population are Druze.
But in July, it was targeted by a string of IS-claimed suicide blasts and shootings that left more than 250 people dead, mostly civilians, in the provincial capital and nearby villages.
At the time, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 14 women and 16 children were kidnapped by IS, but the group had not claimed the kidnappings and IS has not provided evidence of them being held on its propaganda channels.
The video would seem to confirm IS’s responsibility for the kidnapping.
One of the women in the video speaks to the camera to identify the date of recording of the clip as Tuesday 11 September.
She then goes on to say that while the hostages were all well and unharmed, they are being forgotten.
“No one is talking of our issue. Not the state. Not Russia, or any other country," she says, addressing the camera. "We call on anyone who sees this video to pay attention to our story, and seek to end our captivity as soon as possible.”
The Facebook page for Sweida hostages said that the video was published at the behest of a committee that conducts negotiations for the hostages’ release, and that five rounds of negotiations had failed so far. It has published several clips of the hostages in the past few months, which were allegedly sent to relatives of the captives.