Islamic State militants have abducted at least 90 people from Christian villages in Syria
Nirapad News : Islamic State militants have kidnapped at least 90 people after sweeping through Christian villages in Syria, it has been revealed.
The abductions are said to have taken place after ISIS seized two Assyrian communities from Kurdish forces in the northeast province of Hassakeh.
Dawn raids on Monday are said to have spread ‘panic’ in the villages, inhabited by the ancient Christian minority along the banks of the Khabur River near the town of Tel Hmar.
Most of the captives are said to have came from the village of Tal Shamiram, located 50 miles miles southwest of the Hassakeh provincial capital of Qamishli, with others taken from Tal Hermuz.
The kidnappings were revealed by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The latest offensive coincides with a push by Syrian Kurds in the northeast near the Iraqi border since Sunday that had compounded losses for the militant group in Syria.
Sources are reported to have told the human rights watchdog that jihadists swooped to abduct dozens of civilians from the village of Tal Shamiram.
Nuri Kino, founder of A Demand for Action (ADFA), said the Syrian villages had been attacked at 5am with 3,000 people ‘displaced’.
The organisation, which campaigns for Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs in the country, said ‘refugees and fighters’ had been in touch with relatives in Sweden, Germany and Canada to confirm the figures.
Mr Kino said between 70 and 100 people – mostly women and children – had been taken away while the men that were abducted were transported to the Abd al-Aziz mountains.
He told Newsweek how witnesses had described the Isis force as ‘massive’ and that an atmosphere of ‘panic’ had spread throughout the villages.
It has been reported that the extremists had demanded a prisoner swap with the Kurdish fighters.
An Assyrian woman from Tal Shamiram who now lives in Beirut said she has been scrambling to find out what has become of her parents as well as her brother and his wife and kids.
‘Land lines have been cut, their mobiles are closed,’ she told The Associated Press. ‘Have they been slaughtered? Are they still alive? We’re searching for any news.’
She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of endangering relatives believed to be held by the militants.
‘My family visited me last month and returned to Syria. There were clashes but it was normal, nothing exceptional. I feel so helpless, I cannot do anything for them but pray,’ she said by telephone.
The Islamic State group’s online radio station, al-Bayan, said in a report today that IS fighters had detained ‘tens of crusaders’ and seized 10 villages around Tal Tamr after clashes with Kurdish militiamen. ISIS frequently refers to Christians as ‘crusaders.’
SIS has destroyed churches and Christian shrines in Syria, and demanded that Christians living under its rule pay a tax known as jizya.
Much of Hassakeh is divided between Kurdish and IS control.
Fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have been on the offensive in the province in recent days.
They have taken 24 villages and hamlets as part of an operation to try to recapture the town of Tal Hamis and surrounding areas.
Tal Hamis lies to the east of the villages taken by IS on Tuesday.
YPG forces have also been on the offensive in Raqa province, which neighbours Hassakeh, seizing 19 villages as they advance following their recapture of the strategic border town of Kobane last month.
The Kurdish forces have been backed by US-led air strikes launched by the international coalition fighting IS.
The Observatory said the coalition carried out a series of strikes around Tal Hamis on Tuesday that killed 14 IS members.
Earlier this month Islamic State released a video purporting to show the militant group beheading 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya.
The video showed ISIS fighters dressed head to toe in black, marching the captives, all wearing orange jumpsuits, to a beach.
The 21 men were forced onto their knees before being beheaded by the militants.