ISIL frees remaining Kurdish child hostages in Syria: monitor
BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
AP PhotoThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Oct. 29 freed 25 Kurdish schoolchildren kidnapped by its fighters in northern Syria in May, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The 25 were the last to be freed of a group of 153 schoolchildren kidnapped by ISIL in northern Aleppo province on May 29, the Britain-based monitoring group said.
The group of children, most aged between 13 and 15, was intercepted and taken hostage en route to their hometown of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, after sitting exams in Aleppo city.
In the weeks after, five children managed to escape and another 37 were released in batches, including 10 girls among the group.
In September, ISIL released 70 of the pupils, with the Observatory saying around 30 more remained in the group's custody over allegations their relatives were linked to a Kurdish group fighting the jihadist organisation.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP several children had been released individually since the group of 70 was freed in September, and that Wednesday's release represented the last of the child hostages.
The releases come despite ongoing clashes between ISIL and Kurdish forces for control of Kobane, a strategic town on the Syria-Turkey border.
Kurdish forces have so far kept ISIL from overrunning the town, but have relied on US-led air support and US arms drops.
They were bolstered on Wednesday by the deployment of Syrian rebel reinforcements and the looming arrival of Iraqi Kurdish forces.