Relatives hug one of the hostages held by Islamic State militants who escaped from his captors in Qaryatayn town in Homs province, Syria October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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Two weeks ago, Manaf thought his days were numbered. But this weekend he and other former Daesh (ISIS) hostages were given a hero's welcome in the recaptured Syrian town of Al-Qaryatayn. "I was dead and I have come back to life," he told AFP in the central Syrian town, which the militants overran in early October before being driven out by Syrian troops on Oct. 21 .In the 20 days before they were ousted from the town, Daesh executed at least 116 civilians they accused of collaborating with the regime, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group. Russian-backed Syrian forces recaptured the town the following year, but in early October the militants overran the town again in a surprise attack before losing it to a regime offensive a few days ago.Mohammad Kheir's brother was abducted by Daesh just two days before the army arrived.
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