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Wed 20 Jan 2016 09:32 AM

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ISIL frees 270 of 400 people kidnapped in Syria

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ultra-hardline group rounded up another 50 men on Tuesday during raids on houses in Deir Al Zor

ISIL frees 270 of 400 people kidnapped in Syria
(Getty Images)

ISIL on Tuesday released 270 of an estimated 400 civilians, most of them women and children, kidnapped at the weekend when its fighters attacked Syrian government-held areas in the eastern city of Deir Al Zor, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said, however, that the ultra-hardline group rounded up another 50 men on Tuesday during raids on houses in areas seized during four days of fighting in Deir Al Zor, the provincial capital.

Rami Abdulrahman, the Observatory's head, said that the group has kept male prisoners between the ages of 14 and 55 for more questioning.

"Those who they see have ties with the regime will be punished and those who (do) not must undertake a religious course based on the group's interpretation of Islam," he said.

The United States condemned violence against civilians in Deir Al Zor and said those responsible must be held accountable.

"We demand the immediate and unconditional release of any civilians who were taken captive and of all those held by ISIL," US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

The civilians released will remain in ISIL-run villages in the province of Deir Al Zor, which links the group's de facto capital in Raqqa with territory controlled by the militant group in neighbouring Iraq.

The group, which controls of most of the province, has laid siege since last March to remaining government-held areas in the city of Deir Al Zor.

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