A successful operation to free 19 hostages seized by militants has shown a high level of cooperation between the Russian and Syrian militaries in the fight against international terrorism, head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko told reporters.
On November 8, Syrian forces carried out a special operation under the guidance of Russian military officers from the Center for Reconciliation to free 19 civilian hostages seized by the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) in the Suwayda province more than three months ago, TASS reports.
"The command of the Russian troops in Syria… together with Syrian military officers carefully planned the special operation, which made it possible to free 15 children and four women," Savchenko said, adding that thanks to the measures taken by the Russian military, the women and children remained safe and sound. "This special operation became possible because over the years of cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, Russia and the Syrian Arab Republic have taken interaction to the highest level, which allows the two countries to accomplish the most complex tasks," Savchenko said.
According to him, the hostages were kept in inhuman conditions. "They were kept in holes dug in the ground, where there was nowhere to lie down and were also denied basic care. They did not get any food for days, let alone medical treatment. Elderly women have to suffer beatings," the Russian general added.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported earlier that Syrian government forces had freed 19 hostages taken by terrorists in the Suwayda province, adding that all the captors had been killed during a military operation.
On October 2, terrorists said they had killed one of the hostages - a 25-year-old girl - and were getting ready to do away with the others. On August 5, they had executed a 19-year-old student.
IS gangs are demanding that the Syrian army stop its military operation in the Tell es-Safi mountainous canyon, which is their last stronghold in southeastern Syria. The Syrian army and militia units have surrounded the area, cutting militant supply routes.