Date: November 20, 2015
By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (BosNewsLife)— Fighters of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group have released another 37 Assyrian Christians who had been kidnapped nine months ago, but hundreds of other Christian hostages remain detained, Christians confirmed Friday, November 20.
Those freed, including men and women in their 60s and 70s -- were among the 253 Christians snatched during ISIS attacks on Assyrian villages in Syria's northeastern Hasaka province. “Thankfully, the newly released hostages arrived safely at the local town of Tel Tamar”, said the Voice Of the Martyrs (VOMC) a Christian advocacy group which supports persecuted believers.
Negotiations to release the captives earlier this month had reportedly taken place between the Assyrian Church of the East and IS.
The terrorist group had previously demanded about $100,000 for each hostage. Further negotiations are understood to be "underway," Christians said.
On October 7, IS had released a video of its militants killing three Assyrian hostages, while threatening to kill more if demands were not met.
ISLAMIC STATE VIOLENCE
Christians with close knowledge about the situation said IS militants are still holding captive an estimated 168 other Hasaka Christians, as well as 185 Assyrians who were abducted from the town of Qaryatain in western Syria's Homs province during the first week of August.
“Islamic State's countless acts of violence have particularly targeted religious minorities.
Reported abuses include murders and sexual enslavement,” VOMC said.
At least dozens of Christians are known to have been beheaded in recent months as part of the IS campaign to impose strict Islamic rule over a huge area in Syria and Iraq.