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BEIRUT (AP): A Britain-based activist group says the Islamic State has set free 270 people it captured last week during intense fighting with Syrian government forces in the country's east.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that 50 more civilians are still held. The freed civilians were released to the village of al-Baghalieh, north of the besieged city of Deir el-Zour.
IS militants over the weekend launched a heavy offensive to take the city, which is controlled by the Syrian government deep inside IS territory. Over 100 people were reported killed in the fighting.
The Syrian state news agency SANA says government forces have so far managed to repel the advance on Deir el-Zour, with the help of Russian airstrikes.