Mon, 19 Nov 2018
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ISIS takes 700 hostages in Syria, issues chilling warning

By Sheetal Sukhija, Shanghai News
19 Oct 2018, 00:20 GMT+10

MOSCOW, Russia - The Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a revelation related to the ongoing war in Syria, that has triggered fears across several Western nations.

Addressing the Valdai Discussion Forum in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Putin revealed details of the resurgence of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in parts of Syria controlled by U.S.-backed forces.

According to the Russian President, ISIS militants have returned to power with a vengeance and recently raided a Syrian refugee camp.

On Thursday, Putin revealed that the depraved Islamic State terrorists carried out a planned attack at a refugee camp in Syria's Deir-al Zor province on October 13.

He said that ISIS managed to kidnap some 130 families, including several U.S. and European nationals and took them to the city of Hajin.

According to a report in Russia's TASS news agency, the Russian Defence Ministry was cited as saying that the U.S. and its allied groups looked away during the attack.

The abductions were confirmed by Major General Vladimir Savchenko, who heads the Russian Reconciliation Centre.

He said that the ISIS assault on the El Bahra refugee camp took place on Saturday, in which, “130 families of about 700 people” were abducted and taken away to Hajin.

The Russian General added, "The kidnapped civilians… can be used by terrorists as a ‘human shield.’”

Putin confirmed on Thursday that the Islamist terrorists had taken a total of 700 people hostage from the refugee camp and revealed that the militants had already murdered a number of hostages. 

The Russian President also stated that ISIS had now unveiled its deadly plan - threatening to "kill ten hostages every day" unless their demands are met.

While Putin reiterated that ISIS leaders made certain specific demands, he did not specify what the demands were. 

Putin said, " Representatives of the Islamic State were left in several localities, and recently they began to expand their area of presence – 130 families were taken there, almost 700 people, hostages."

He added, "They have issued ultimatums, specific demands and warned that if these ultimatums are not met they will execute 10 people every day. The day before yesterday they executed 10 people."

The Russian President also stressed that following the deadly raid last week, ISIS has steadily expanded its control in the territory on the left bank of the River Euphrates.

The territory where the militants continue to grow is currently controlled by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces. 

Criticizing U.S. forces for the “catastrophic” failure, the Russian President said, “According to our data, several citizens of both the United States and European countries were taken hostage. Everyone is silent, some kind of silence, as if nothing is happening."

Resurgence of terror

After the U.S. withdrew most of its forces from Iraq in 2011, ISIS strategically utilized the rapidly degrading security in the country. 

In 2014, the group swept over Iraq and Syria and in years that followed, it became feared as the deadliest terrorist organization in the world.

However, after grueling assaults that lasted several years, ISIS suffered huge losses in both Syria and Iraq.

In August 2017, Iraq soldiers and security forces managed to achieve the most significant success in the war against terror, after they managed to eject ISIS from the country's second-largest city - Mosul.

The battle lasted eight months, after which the terror group continued to suffer losses. 

Iraqi government declared the end of ISIS soon after.

However, experts have pointed out that many of the ISIS fighters hid out in Iraq's mountainous areas and continued to remain in the country, operating like guerrillas.

Now, experts claim that the terrorist organization has risen out of the vacuum left by the Syrian civil war.

U.S. makes conflicting claims

Despite repeated claims by the U.S. President Donald Trump that ISIS has been defeated, the Pentagon and U.S. forces in the war-torn region have said otherwise.

Earlier this year, U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon warned that forces in Syria were witnessing an apparent surge in ISIS terrorist attacks in the country.

The top military officer stated, "We have seen also not just reports, but also corroborated through our own intelligence gathering, that Isis is starting to conduct more attacks on the west side of the Euphrates River outside of Abu Kamal against pro-regime forces. And then we've also seen – not corroborated by us, but in open source, the retaking of neighbourhoods in southern Damascus.”

This week, Trump repeated his claim that ISIS had been defeated, and said in an interview with the Associated Press, "We've done an excellent job. We've defeated ISIS. ISIS is defeated in all of the areas that we fought ISIS, and that would have never happened under President Obama."

He elaborated, "In fact, it is going the other way. And I think we fought extremely effectively on everything I've wanted to do. Now there will be a certain point where that takes place."

He said, "I have to see safety at home and - not a vast difference, by the way - but a little bit more. But it's not a lot more, it's a little bit more. I have to see safety at home. And if I think people are likely to do some very bad things in faraway places to our homeland, I'm going to have troops there for a period of time."

However, while U.S. military leaders have said that the group has been rolled back and denied control of territory, it has not made any major pronouncements like the U.S. President.

The U.S. military has maintained that coalition forces are still fighting them in their last strongholds.

Addressing reporters at the Pentagon this week, Army Col. Sean J. Ryan, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led anti-ISIS task force said, "Overall, ISIS is territorially defeated, but until we achieve an enduring defeat, we will continue to fight."

Russia meanwhile, has been engaged militarily in Syria since September 2015.

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