A second hostage has died after being abducted by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in southern Syria last month, AFP reported Thursday (August 9th).
The 65-year-old Syrian woman was among more than 30 people seized by ISIS two weeks ago as it unleashed a violent attack against the Druze minority of Sweida province.
ISIS has been in talks with Syria's government and its ally Russia to swap the hostages for extremists held by the regime.
The extremist group beheaded one of them, a 19-year-old male student, last week.
On Thursday, the negotiating delegation received images showing the lifeless body of a second hostage, said Nour Radwan, who heads the Sweida24 news outlet.
"After cutting off communication for several days, ISIS corresponded with the negotiating delegation of Sweida to tell them she died of illness," Radwan said.
Relatives told Radwan the woman suffered from heart problems and diabetes, but they had no way of verifying if they had caused her death.
There is little information on what conditions the hostages are being kept in, including whether they are subject to torture or other abuses.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said one of the female hostages had died under "mysterious circumstances".
After the two deaths, there remain at least 13 women and 15 children in ISIS custody.
The hostages were being moved among different locations to avoid Syrian government shelling, Radwan said.
Regime troops on Sunday began fierce bombardment of ISIS positions in the northeastern sliver of Sweida province, which falls in the vast desert known in the country as the Badiya.