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ISIS Kidnaps 150 Christian Civilians In Syria

| by Kendal Mitchell

Islamic State militants kidnapped about 150 people in northern Syria on Monday, according to human rights activists.

A Christian group from Syria confirmed ISIS, an Islamic militant group with the aim to create a new caliphate in Iraq and Syria, kidnapped civilians, including women, children and the elderly.

"We have verified at least 150 people who have been adducted [sic] from sources on the ground," Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, told Reuters.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also released a statement on Tuesday stating the Islamic State seized two Assyrian Christian communities near the border of Iraq and Syria.

During a radio broadcast on the online radio station al-Bayan, ISIS militants said fighters had detained "tens of crusaders" as well as 10 villages near Tal Tamr.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, militants stormed villages known as Christian settlements early Monday morning. Many of the captive are from the villages of Tal Shamiram and Tal Hermuz.

Throughout the region, jihadists have destroyed Christian villages and shrines. They also force Christians to pay a religious tax.

The attack occurred after fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, gained a foothold in the region last month. Kurdish forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, gained control of 24 villages previously under the control of ISIS.

On Sunday, YPG militia fighters were about three miles away from Tel Hamis, an ISIS-controlled settlement near Qamishli. About 14 ISIS fighters died in the offense, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

ISIS militants separated the male captives from about 70 to 100 women and child abductees to transport the men to the Abd al-Aziz mountains, said Nuri Kino, founder of the human rights organization A Demand for Action.

Kino said activists estimate the Islamic State displaced about 3,000 people living in the area. 

Sources: Rueters, Daily Mail, The Guardian / Photo Credit: The Guardian