Latest News

ISIS release 22 Assyrian Christians in Syria

Assyrians citizens hold placards during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Syria and Iraq, at a church in Lebanon (PA)

ISIS has released 22 Assyrian Christians in north-eastern Syria, according to the British-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory on Human Rights (SOHR).

The 22 mostly elderly people, including 14 women, were from a group of 200 Assyrian Christians abducted by ISIS from more than a dozen villages in the Khabur region on February 23.

A statement on the SOHR website that the monitoring group had been given information “that some other detainees are going to be released too”.

In March, ISIS released 19 of the captives, but it is believed that more than 150 of the Assyrian Christians are currently still being held prisoner.

Another human rights organisation, the Assyrian Network for Human Rights, said negotiations were ongoing to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

“There is a positive atmosphere around the negotiation,” Osama Edward, the director of the organisation, told AFP.

Afram Yakoub, the chairman of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden, told Al Jazeera that the latest release was a result of “negotiations between Assyrian leaders and Sunni leaders who have pledged allegiance to ISIS.”

Last week at least 60 Christians were taken in a raid by ISIS on the Syrian town of Qaryatain. They were among 200 civilians captured by the Islamists in the attack.