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Islamic State: Fears grow for abducted Syria Christians

There are fears that more members of an Assyrian Christian community in northeastern Syria were abducted by Islamic State militants than at first thought.
Sources in the community said as many as 200 people might have been seized
on Monday in raids on a string of villages near Tal Tamr, in Hassakeh province.
Most of the captives were women, children and the elderly.
Some 1,000 local Assyrian families are believed to have fled their homes in
the wake of the abductions.
At least 90 Assyrians were seized by the militants on Monday as they captured
12 villages along the southern bank of the Khabur river before dawn, according to the
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based opposition group that monitors the
conflict in the country.
The Syriac National Council of Syria put the figure as high as 150, while
Afram Yaboub of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden said sources on the ground had
told him that at least 60 and up to 200 people were missing.
However, a spokesman for the Syriac Military Council, a Christian militia
fighting alongside the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG), told the BBC that
between 350 and 400 civilians had been taken, and that some had already been killed.
Kino Gabriel said that the Syriac Military Council believed the captives had been
taken to Abdul Aziz mountain but it was not sure about their exact location.
Osama Edward of the Sweden-based Assyrian Human Rights Network told the AFP
news agency that the captives had been taken to the IS stronghold of Shaddadi, as did
Syria's state news agency, Sana.
"People were expecting an attack, but they thought that either the Syrian army,
which is just 30km [20 miles] from there or the Kurds or the [US-led] coalition's
strikes would protect them," Mr Edward said.
Hundreds of Assyrians who were living in villages on the north bank of the
Khabur river and elsewhere are reported to have fled following the attack to the
largely Kurdish-controlled provincial capital of Hassakeh, to the south-east, and
Qamishli, another city to the north-east.
IS has forced Christians living in its territory to either convert to Islam, pay a
religious levy or face death

a town just a few kilometres from the Iraqi border. an IS stronghold. The YPG was also reported to be continuing a major offensive launched on Sunday against IS some 100km (60 miles) to the east. The Syrian Observatory said at least 132 IS militants had been killed in the offensive.an area of vital importance to the jihadists. near the border with Iraq ." Mr Edward reported. . The Syriac Military Council had about 400 fighters in the area and at least four had been killed in clashes with the jihadists. The YPG has deployed between 1. with al-Houl.000 and 1.500 fighters. 800 families have taken refuge in the city of Hassakeh and another 150 in Qamishli. A Kurdish official told Reuters news agency the YPG had cut a main road linking Tal Hamis. along with seven members of the YPG."Since Monday. Mr Gabriel said IS had moved a big force into the area and were trying to take control of Tal Tamr. he added.