According to sources in the Assyrian Christian Church, at least 15 of the 350 hostages taken by ISIS in Assyrian villages in Syria in the past week have been shot, beheaded, or both, CRUX reports.
The news of the killings was reported by Assyrian Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana to Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity based in Germany that supports persecuted Christians.
“Around 15 young Assyrians are martyred,” Youkhana reported. “Many of them were fighting to defend and protect their villages and families.”
Youkhana heads a Christian aid program in Dohuk, Iraq, and said he had received the information about the killings from an Assyrian Christian lawyer who lives in the Syrian town of Hassak.
Aid to the Church in Need, which says that 350 hostages have been taken, said another source gave the group an unconfirmed report that a mosque in the Arab Sunni village of Bab Alfaraj, Syria, had called on people to attend “a mass killing of infidels” at Mount Abdul Aziz scheduled for Friday.
Youkhana said that at this point, the only Assyrians left behind are those joining forces with the Kurdish army to try to stop the ISIS advance. The rest have either been captured or are heading towards the border with Turkey that has been closed to all Syrian citizens.
“There are 200 families who were running away and trying to escape to Turkey, but the border is closed for Syrians. No Syrian can cross into Turkey,” Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo told Catholic News Agency Feb. 26.
Hindo oversees the Syrian archdiocese of Hassake, located in the Al-Hasakah region of Syria, which sits between Turkey and Iraq.
Assyrian Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, ordinary of the Syrian Catholic Archieparchy in Hassaké-Nisibis, has spoken out against the kidnapping of more than 260 Assyrian Christians and blamed the U.S. and its Western allies for triggering conflicts that have destabilized the region and prompted ISIS to carry out such attacks.
“With their disastrous policies — mainly the French and the U.S., with their regional allies, have favored in fact the Daesh (ISIS) escalation,” Hindo told Fides News Agency.
“Now they persevere in error, commit strategic, grotesque mistakes such as the announcement of the ‘spring campaign’ to liberate Mosul and insist on interfering with irrelevant interventions, instead of recognizing that their guaranteed support to jihadist groups has led us to this chaos and has destroyed Syria, making us regress 200 years.”