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Druze clerics and citizens attend a funeral ceremony for victims of the attacks that targeted the al-Sweida province in Southern Syria Druze clerics and citizens attend a funeral ceremony for victims of the attacks that targeted the al-Sweida province in Southern Syria  (ANSA)

Syria: Druze woman and children kidnapped by IS

The so-called Islamic State has abducted dozens of Druze women and children in Southern Syria.

By Nathan Morley

Reports from Syria suggest that at least 36 women and children were abducted when the militant group attacked their villages in Sweida, a province in the south, last week. A few women have since managed to escape, but further details are unknown.

It has emerged that the women were snatched on Wednesday during a large scale assault by IS, which left nearly 200-people dead. Islamic State has not claimed responsibility for the kidnappings and the incident has not been mentioned on their mouthpiece website.

“At least 36 Druze women and children were abducted after the attacks,” an announcement from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated.

The Islamic State considers the Druze - one of the major religious groups in the Levant – to be heretics. Druze in Syria make-up an estimated 3.2 percent of the population, equating to 800,000 people.

The Syrian army has consolidated their positions in the area over the last 24-hours. The militants now only hold a tiny slice of the Deraa province near the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

After more than seven years of war, President Bashar al Assad's government has asserted itself in the face of opposition, leaving the armed uprising in tatters.

In a separate development, officials from Russia, Turkey, and Iran have met in Sochi, ahead of another round of Syria peace talks slated for July 31st.

The talks will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan and de-escalation zones, the return of the refugees and the release of prisoners will dominate the agenda. A separate UN-led round of discussions on political issues in Syria has taken place in Geneva.

Listen to Nathan Morley's report

 

30 July 2018, 17:02