Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the Islamic State is holding as many as 700 hostages in the part of Syria controlled by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces, reported Reuters.
Putin said that among the hostages are several U.S. and European nationals, and that some of them have already been killed. He did not specify what the hostage-takers have demanded.
“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,” Putin told a forum gathered in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
He added that the Islamic State has been expanding its control in the U.S.-held area on the left bank of the River Euphrates.
TASS news agency on Wednesday reported that on October 13 ISIS militants had taken about 700 hostages in the U.S.-controlled Deir-al Zor province of Syria.
According to the TASS report, militants have demanded the release of captured ISIS militants and the concession of several territories on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.