ISIS’ capture of an estimated 300 workers from a cement factory near Damascus earlier this week raised a lot of fears for their safety, though reports have since confirmed that ISIS has begun releasing the hostages.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a deal was made with the local governments in Dumeir to release 170 of the workers, and that the first of those workers had been released. An ISIS-linked media outlet claimed all 300 workers were released.
Adding further confusion to the matter, reports earlier in the day claiemd ISIS had staged a mass execution, killing 175 of the workers. This apparently was not the case, and it’s not even clear how this story began circulating.
Reports from the area around the cement company suggest that there may not have even been 300 hostages to begin with, with locals saying only about 250 workers were missing after the incident. They also claimed the hostages were missing since Monday, despite other reports suggesting ISIS didn’t capture them until Wednesday.
ISIS had launched attacks around Dumeir on Wednesday, hitting several police checkpoints, and it was believed this is the point at which they captured the cement factory workers.