State television broadcast footage of the six arriving in the city of Sweida on Saturday, joyful at being reunited with their families but haggard after their three-month ordeal.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said their release was the first part of a deal that would see at least 60 Daesh prisoners released in exchange and a $27 million ransom paid, AFP reported.
The terrorists abducted around 30 people — mostly women and children — from Sweida province in late July during the deadliest attack on Syria’s Druze community of the seven-year civil war.
As negotiations for their release dragged on, families led a series of protests outside government offices in Sweida to demand more be done.
“I cannot describe my joy,” Rasmia Abu Amar told state television after being reunited with her husband.
“But it is incomplete — my son has not yet been released,” she said, her hair covered by a white headscarf.
A second woman appeared with her four children, their clothes still dirty from their long captivity and her sons with their heads shaved.
Observatory chief Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP that the six were freed on Friday night and that further hostage releases were expected “in the next few days or hours”.
He said that in return for the release of all of the hostages, the Syrian government had agreed to free 60 Daesh prisoners and pay a ransom of $27 million.
During the coordinated assaults on July 25, Daesh carried out suicide bombings, shootings and stabbings that left more than 250 people dead, most of them civilians.
Sweida province is the heartland of the country’s Druze minority, which made up around three per cent of Syria’s pre-war population — or around 700,000 people.
Followers of a secretive offshoot of Islam, the Druze are considered heretics by Daesh.
The terrorists executed a 19-year-old male student among the captives in August and then a 25-year-old female captive in early October. Daesh said a 65-year-old woman being held by the group also died from illness.
Negotiations between Damascus ally Russia and the terrorists for the release of the captives had stalled. But the latest round of talks appeared to have paid off — albeit with a stiff price.
The Observatory said Daesh had demanded $1 million per hostage, the release of some terrorists’ wives and the halting of an offensive against them in Sweida.
Government forces have battled Daesh in the volcanic plateau of Tulul Al Safa in the east of the province since the July attack.