At the early hours of October 20, governor of the province of al-Suwayda, Amer al-Ashi, announced that the Syrian authorities had freed six of the civilian hostages, who were abducted by ISIS terrorists during a brutal attack last July.
“As a result of the strict siege imposed by the army on the terrorist organizations [in al-Safa], the authorities freed six abductees, two women and four children out of the twenty-nine hostages. The remaining hostages will be released soon,” the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) quoted al-Ashi as saying.
Meanwhile, the al-Suwayda 24 blog revealed that the Syrian authorities released twenty-five people affiliated with ISIS from its prisons in exchange for the hostages. A source familiar with the negotiations told the Syria-based blog that the terrorist group will release the remaining civilian hostages in the upcoming few days.
The SAA carried out a large-scale military operation against the remaining ISIS cells north of al-Suwayda for more than two months in order to free the hostages. Now with the negotiations witnessing real progress, the operation will likely end and the terrorist group may withdraw towards other areas in central Syria.