|Date: Aug 8, 2018|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|Pro-regime Druze militia in Syria hangs Daesh member: observatory|
|Agence France Presse|
BEIRUT: Pro-government Druze militiamen hanged a member of Daesh (ISIS) in Syria’s Swaida Tuesday, an activist group said, just days after the militants executed a young hostage from the minority group. Daesh abducted more than 30 Druze civilians – women and their children – from a remote village less than two weeks ago, during a brutal onslaught in the southern province.
The hostage situation and beheading has sparked outrage among the Druze, and a militia struck back Tuesday.
“A member of Daesh was detained during an attack against a pro-regime position in the Swaida countryside,” said Rami Abdel-Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
During the assault, a Daesh suicide bomber killed four government loyalists but militia members managed to detain a second militant. “Druze militiamen loyal to the regime executed the Daesh militant in one of the public squares in Swaida city, by hanging,” Abdel-Rahman said.
Suwayda24, a local news outlet, said the Daesh member had been caught Tuesday morning in a desert area of the province. Hundreds of people watched the execution, according to both the observatory and Suwayda24. Swaida province is the heartland of the country’s Druze minority, which made up around 3 percent of Syria’s prewar population – or around 700,000 people.
On July 25, Daesh waged a series of suicide bombings, shootings, and stabbings that left more than 250 people dead across the province, most of them civilians. It later emerged the militants had also kidnapped more than 30 Druze women and their children during the attack.
While Daesh claimed responsibility for the violence, it has made no mention of the abductions on its usual channels.
But local sources say the group is using the hostages as a bargaining chip to pressure Syria’s government to release militants in its custody.
A top Druze religious official told AFP the negotiations were taking place with Russian mediation in coordination with Syria’s regime.