No trace of 90 Christians abducted by IS terrorists

No trace of 90 Christians abducted by IS terrorists
Updated 26 February 2015

No trace of 90 Christians abducted by IS terrorists

No trace of 90 Christians abducted by IS terrorists

BEIRUT: The Islamic State group has seized at least 90 Assyrian Christians in Syria, in the terrorists’ first mass kidnapping of Christians in the war-torn country, a monitor said Tuesday.
The abductions appeared to be in retaliation for a major Kurdish offensive aimed at recapturing nearby villages, and which has killed 132 militants in four days, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britain-based monitor said IS kidnapped the Assyrians on Monday after seizing two villages, Tal Shamiram and Tal Hermuz, in Hassakeh province from the control of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The group had no immediate details on those kidnapped, including whether women and children were among them, or where they were being held.
“The militants attacked the two villages in retaliation against the Kurds, who four days ago launched a bid backed by the US-led coalition to reclaim villages around Tal Hamis, also in Hassakeh province,” said Observatory director Rami A. Rahman. “The fighting around Tal Hamis has killed at least 132 jihadis in four days, and four YPG fighters on Tuesday alone,” he added. “A fifth man, a Westerner who had traveled into Syria to fight alongside the YPG, was also killed.”
There were just 30,000 Assyrians in Syria before the country’s conflict erupted in March 2011, with most of them living throughout Hassakeh province.
They represent a tiny percentage of the country’s overall pre-war Christian population, which numbered around 1.2 million people.
After IS attacked the two villages as well as the nearby town of Tal Tamr, which remains under Kurdish control, the jihadis set fire to a church there and then installed fighters in the remains of the building, an activist network reported.
Related report — Page 7