08/12/2015, 00.00
SYRIA
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The Islamic State frees 22 Assyrian Christians in ​​Hassaké area

They include 14 elderly women. 187 Christians are still IS hostages. The militiamen demand 100 thousand dollars per hostage.

Damascus (AsiaNews) - The Islamic State (IS) has released 22 Assyrian Christians, kidnapped six months ago in the north-east of Syria. They are part of a group of over 200 Christians, dragged away from their villages in the province of Hassaké.

The news comes from 'Assyrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has also published some photos of the liberated persons, which include 14 women from the villages of Tal Tal Shamiram and Jazira.

Several portraits show the elderly women, weeping. Their release took place thanks to the mediation of priests in the Assyrian Church. They are also ongoing negotiations to free the 187 hostages still in the hands of IS militants who are demanding 100 thousand US dollars per hostage.

There are an estimated 30 thousand Assyrian Christians, who count for about 2.5% of the Christians in Syria (1.2 million). Most of them lived in the Hassaké, at the center of a struggle between the IS, the regular troops and other Islamic extremist groups opposed to Bashar Assad and the IS.

In February, their area was occupied by the IS, who took hundreds of Christians hostage (perhaps to use them as human shields). Last May Kurdish forces were defeated and expelled the IS from 14 Christian villages.

 

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