The remaining ISIS cells in the area of al-Safa have agreed to release 6 female hostages, who were abducted during a brutal attack on the eastern al-Suwayda countryside in late July, a Syrian security source told the Russian RT TV on October 17.
According to the source, the Damascus government will release 17 ISIS fighters from its prisons in exchange for the hostages. The source didn’t clarify the fate of around 24 other hostages, who will likely remain in the hands of ISIS for the time being.
A day earlier, a 24-hour ceasefire was imposed in al-Safa upon a request from Russia, which is overseeing the negotiations between the Damascus government and the terrorist organization. The ceasefire was violated by a group of ISIS snipers. However, it didn’t collapse.
The ceasefire may be extended in order to maintain the momentum of the negotiations and to ensure the release of the remaining hostages. Regarding the fate of ISIS fighters, Syrian pro-government sources said that they may withdraw from al-Safa to another area, mostly likely the Homs desert.