Sweida’s Women Abductees: Inaction and Unknown Fate
The destiny of the Sweida women, taken captives by the “Islamic State” (ISIS), yet unknown, amidst lacking efforts on the part of the Syrian regime as to reach a deal of release and talks about failing negotiations, in which ISIS insists on several points that the heads and well-known personalities in the governorate see as impossible to realize.
The number of the women abductees is 21, including eight children, taken as hostages by the “Islamic State” during their latest attack that targeted Sweida, which led to the death of more than 200 people, including women and children, most of whom are from the adjacent eastern rural parts.
Following the failure of the negotiations which al-Akl Sheikhdom of the unitarian Druze denomination has led, the “Social Committee” for National Action asked the kidnapped women’s families to officially authorize them with the case. However, they have not received an answer so far.
A young man from the town of al-Shabki, from where most of the abductees are, said that no one has so far showed interest in accelerating finding a solution for the issue, especially after the death of the young man Muhanad Abu Ammar and one of the abductees, Um Ahed (Zahiyah al-Jubai), due to the bad conditions under which they are enduring.
The young man, on the condition of anonymity, stressed to Enab Baladi the absence of any serious form of negotiations concerning the abductees’ cause, and that the complacency is not only at the level of the mountain but Syria in general, pointing out that Russia has sent a message that the abductees’ file is now with the Syrian regime, in “good hands,” alluding to its withdrawal from the issue in an unofficial manner.
The pause of concern in the abductees’ file correspond with a military operation that Assad’s forces and allied militias have started in the Sweida desert, with the participation of local armed groups, which perform in the governorate.
In the latest developments informe by Assad’s forces, they announced taking over “strategic” areas from the “Islamic State,” including Som al-Tathmouni, Kherbat al-Ambashi, al-Haibaryiah hilltops, Rusom Maroush, Soh al-Na’meh, Dahrat Rashed, Zraibiyah, Kherbat al-Shahryiah, Wadi al-Rmailan, Wadi Shajrah, Zamlat Naser, al-Nahyan, Tal al-Dabe, Tal al-Dabieia, Qaber al-Shaikh Hussian.
According to the young man, who is informed of the negotiations process’ developments, Assad’s forces military operation indicates “negligence and unfathomable inaction concerning a suspended humanitarian cause.”
The ambiguous complacency on the part of the Syrian regime is met with the “Islamic State’s” total absence from the forefront, that even the videos published featuring the women abductees were not officially adopted by it, which complicates the issue further and opens the door for questions and speculations about their destiny.
As a development, the repercussions nor the objectives of which have yet been made clear, a civil committee, from the governorate’s people, was formed after receiving an authorization from the abductees’ relatives.
A source, from the negotiations room, told Enab Baladi, on the condition of anonymity, that the committee includes specialized men, 13 in number, some of whom are allocated the task of participating in the negotiations process concerning the release of the kidnapped women.
The specialization of the rest of the committee’s members differ according the tasks they are assigned.
Of the latest conditions proposed by the “Islamic State” are the withdrawal of Assad’s forces from the territories of Sweida, the Mountain’s people abstention from participating in any battles beside the regime’s forces, in addition to refrain from using Sweida’s lands in military operations against it.
Execution Incident Entices the Mainstream’s Anger
On the other sphere of the circumstances witnessed by Sweida, groups under the “Syrian Social Nationalist Party,” known as the “Eagles of the Whirlwind,” have executed a troop, said to be an ISIS affiliate, which inspired anger among the city’s people, who criticized the way with which the troop was assassinated.
Iman, refused to mention her full mane, asserts that the execution incident is arranged by the Syrian regime to distract the people “with fake heroism achieved through burning the bodies of ISIS fighters.”
The young woman told Enab Baladi that the execution of “ISIS” troop immediately after he was captured, points to the regime’s intention to kill all the witnesses, especially that they might lead to other networks involved in the latest attack on the city and kidnapping the women.
Iman called for opening an investigation about the people involved in the execution process, which correspond to a state of tension lived by “al-Arab Mountain,” against the background of lacking developments in the abductees’ cause, believing that “captures might be a card of pressure during the negotiations.”
The denomination’s Akl Sheikhdom issued a statement, in which they denounced the mutilation of the dead bodies, asserting that this must not be repeated again.
They described the incident as one contrary and abusive to the Sweida community, saying that “some people have committed what God prohibits, what humanity prohibits, including mutilation of dead bodies and excessive and deceitful show off, which deviates from religion, the unitarian doctrine, the traditions and ethics of the mountain’s people.”
They asked people and fighters “to be steadfast and resist ISIS expected attacks, and not to escape or move to other areas.”