ISIS releases 93 Syrian Kurds, monitor reports
The militant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has released 93 Syrian Kurds it captured in February as they made their way from northern Syria to neighboring Iraq, a group monitoring the conflict said on Tuesday.
ISIS seized around 100 people, accusing them of being members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) which has opposed the militants, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It was not immediately clear why they were released.
The al-Qaeda offshoot which is the target of U.S.-led air strikes in Syria and Iraq, released all but six of the Kurds in Syria on Monday, the Observatory said.
The remaining captives were accused of theft and ISIS said it would cut off their right hand as a punishment, added the Observatory, which gathers its information from a network of sources.
The Kurds were taken captive as they crossed from areas around the Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border on a road towards Iraqi Kurdistan. ISIS has also fought with Kurds in Iraq.
Ten of thousands of Syrian Kurds took the route east towards Iraq earlier this year to flee ISIS’ advance in Syria.
In recent weeks, ISIS has intensified its assault on Kobane and surrounding areas.
Around 53 of the Kurds released on Monday made their way into Turkey and the location of the 40 others is unknown, the Observatory said. The militants were still holding around 70 more Kurds captive, it added.