BEIRUT: The militant Islamic State (IS) group on Tuesday abducted 19 people in the centre of war-torn Syria, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The militants attacked Syrian government forces in the Badia desert, before kidnapping eight policemen and 11 civilians from a small village.

Syria’s state news agency SANA said the militants had taken “a number of inhabitants” from the village of al-Saan in Hama province, after they went looking for truffles, fungi used in cooking.

Others were wounded and taken to hospital, it said.

IS fighters have ramped up their attacks in the past months against Syrian government security forces in the vast desert that stretches across central Syria to the eastern border with Iraq. They have abducted civilians, shepherds and soldiers, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

“Those abducted are usually killed, especially if they are members of the Syrian government forces,” he said.

He said the kidnapping was the largest by the militant group since they lost the last scrap of their cross-border proto-state in 2019. IS overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014.

They were expelled from their last patch of territory in eastern Syria in March 2019, but have retained a presence in the vast Badia desert.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2021

Opinion

Let women be, control the man
Updated 11 Apr 2021

Let women be, control the man

Men need to be educated and then read the riot act. The enforcement of the law must be merciless in such cases.
Twixt torch & tray
11 Apr 2021

Twixt torch & tray

Some may say that the lawyers’ indignation is not without merit.
Behaviour bond
10 Apr 2021

Behaviour bond

States have turned the imitation of repressive laws into an art form...

Editorial

11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...
10 Apr 2021

Greater tax burden

THE FBR’s tax target of Rs6tr for the next year under the IMF-mandated fiscal adjustment policies will increase ...
UK travel ban
Updated 10 Apr 2021

UK travel ban

Pakistan continued to allow passengers to arrive without quarantine requirements.
10 Apr 2021

IS in Mozambique

IT was not too long ago when the dreaded shock troops of the self-declared Islamic State group were rampaging ...