The Latest: Syria state news agency says 19 held by IS freed

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

Syria’s state news agency says troops have liberated 19 hostages held by the Islamic State group since July in a military operation in central Syria.

SANA news agency said in its report Wednesday that the operation occurred in the Hamima area east of the historic town of Palmyra.

It said all IS fighters in the area where the hostages were held have been killed.

The 19 women and children were among 30 people kidnapped by IS in the southern province of Sweida on July 25 when they carried out a raid that left at least 216 people dead.

One woman died in IS custody while another was shot dead. In August, a 19-year-old man was also killed in detention.

Six others were freed in an exchange last month.


4 p.m.

Syrian opposition activists and paramedics are reporting that two blasts in rebel-held parts of northern Syria have inflicted casualties.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fist explosion occurred in the northern town of Azaz wounding six children while the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense said four were wounded including three children.

The observatory and other opposition activists reported another blast in the town of Jinderis saying a bomb went off outside an office of the Turkey-backed Failaq al-Sham rebel group killing three fighters and wounding seven.

Azaz and Jeideris are controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters. The two towns were once controlled by Kurdish fighters opposed to Turkey.

Explosions in rebel-held parts of northern Syria are not uncommon and have killed and wounded dozens in recent months.

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