(HRW) – Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters are holding at least 27 people hostage, including at least 16 children, in southern Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Local residents say that ISIS is holding the hostages in the eastern region of the Sweida desert and hoping to use them as leverage in negotiations with the Syrian government and Russia. ISIS kidnapped the residents during a July 25, 2018 attack in the Sweida governorate, which is under government control. Earlier in August, ISIS beheaded one hostage, and another died under unclear circumstances. Hostage-taking is a war crime and ISIS should immediately release the hostages.