ISIS Kidnaps 150 Christians in Northern Syria

“Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.” (Exodus 21:16)

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights organization reported on Tuesday that ISIS has kidnapped 90 Christians near the mainly Kurdish held city of Hasaka.

The monitoring group said that ISIS raided the outlying communities around the city in the early hours Tuesday morning hours.

However, activists on the ground in war-torn Syria reported on Thursday that at least 150 Assyrian Christians have been kidnapped, including women, children and the elderly.

“We have verified at least 150 people who have been abducted from sources on the ground,” Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, told Reuters.

The area, which borders Iraq, is well known for other ISIS related murders atrocities against the minority Yazidi group last year. Hasaka is of important strategic significance to ISIS and YPG Kurdish forces, who with the help of allied airstrikes, attacked ISIS militants on Sunday.

During the recent Hasaka offensive, Kurdish forces managed to reclaim many Arab villages and kill 14 ISIS fighters. Eight Christians were accidentally killed during heavy shelling by the Kurds.

This is not the first time that ISIS fighters have kidnapped members of minority groups or Christians. Last year, ISIS abducted several Assyrians in retaliation for siding with and fighting alongside YPG forces. The Assyrians were released after lengthy negotiations.

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ISIS has continually sought out to make the lives of Christians and other minorities miserable. Among the many tactics used against those they capture, ISIS forces its victims to pay exorbitant fines, convert or be killed. During the Mt. Sinjar crisis last year, the world watched as the plight of these minorities worsened daily under the reign of ISIS.

During the 19th century, Christians formed the majority of Syria’s Jazeera area, which is located in the north western region and includes the city of Hasaka. Over the course of the 20th century, Arab nomads as well as Kurdish tribes moved into the area, causing the Christian populace to become a minority. Over the course of the ongoing four year conflict in Syria, many Christians have fled Syria while over 200,000 people have been killed.

Israel’s leading NGO relief organization IsraAID, as well as other international relief organizations, are working with refugees who fled from ISIS in Syria and Iraq to help make their living conditions better under these dire circumstances.

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