RUSSIAN president Vladimir Putin says nearly 700 people including several US and European nationals have been captured by Isis terrorists south of the Euphrates River in Syria, as the terror group vows to kill 10 people a day.
US and European citizens are being killed off 10 people a day, Putin said as he criticised US forces for “catastrophic” failure.
The president said: “Islamic State terrorists have delivered ultimatums and made certain demands, threatening to shoot ten people every day.
“This is just horrible, it is a catastrophe.
“Some US and European citizens are among the hostages.”
It comes days after the terror group attacked a refugee camp in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province and took hundreds of people hostage.
Putin added the terrorists already started carrying out their threats and executed 10 hostages two days ago.
He did not specify what the terrorist’s demands were.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the US and its allied groups looked away during the attack.
Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, the Russian president said Isis has expanded its presence in the part of Syria controlled by the US and US-backed forces.
He said the US forces that claim to control the area around the east bank of the Euphrates rely on Kurdish armed forces on the ground and stayed silent on the crisis.
Putin added: “Everyone is silent as if nothing has happened.”
Isis’ power and influence in the region appeared to be dwindling in Syria after a series of major defeats.
The remains of the once self-proclaimed caliphate is concentrated mainly east of the Euphrates closer to the Syria-Iraq border.
But the group carries out limited operations far north in the strategic city of Deir ez-Zor.
Head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre, Major General Vladimir Savchenko said the Isis assault on the El Bahra refugee camp took place on Saturday.
He added that “130 families of about 700 people” were abducted and taken away to Hajin.
The general continued: “The kidnapped civilians can be used by terrorists as a ‘human shield.’”
The town of Hajin where the hostages were taken is located in the eastern bank of the Euphrates.
General Savchenko said Isis managed to keep control of such a large territory because of the inaction of the US-backed armed units.
Earlier this year US Army Colonel Ryan Dillon warned of an apparent surge in Isis terrorist attacks in Syria.
He said: “We have seen also not just reports, but also corroborated through our own intelligence gathering, that Isis is starting to conduct more attacks on the west side of the Euphrates River outside of Abu Kamal against pro-regime forces.
“And then we’ve also seen – not corroborated by us, but in open source, the retaking of neighbourhoods in southern Damascus.”
Isis is an off-shoot of Al-Qaeda and rose out of the vacuum left by the Syrian civil war and rapidly degrading security in Iraq when the US withdrew most of its forces in 2011.