Syro-Catholic archbishop, Jacques Behnan Hindo, confirmed the news, adding that “more than a thousand Christian Assyrian and Chaldean families [have] fled”. The CNN reports that jihadists are about to publish a video message in which they threaten to kill the hostages
Syro-Catholic archbishop, Jacques Behnan Hindo, confirmed the news, adding that “more than a thousand Christian Assyrian and Chaldean families [have] fled”. The CNN reports that jihadists are about to publish a video message in which they threaten to kill the hostages.
The situation the Assyrian Christian hostages face in Syria is becoming ever clearer by the hour. Between 120 and 140 Christians are being held hostage by Islamic State jihadists who in the night between Sunday 22 and Monday, February 23 launched a large-scale attack against the Christian villages scattered along the banks of the river Khabur, in the Syrian province in northeastern Jazeera. This was confirmed to Catholic news agency Fides by Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, ordinary of the Syrian Catholic Archieparchy in Hassaké-Nisibis. The hostages all come from the villages of Tel Jazira, Tel Shamiram and Tel Gouram.
“The jihadists – Archbishop the archbishop stated – have taken full control of the villages on the western shore of Khabur, while yesterday afternoon, February 24, all the inhabitants of 22 villages scattered along the eastern shore were evacuated and more than a thousand Christian Assyrian and Chaldean families fled to the major centers of Hassaké, Qamishli, Dirbesiye and Ras al-Ayn.” “Until yesterday evening there were more than 950 new families of refugees in Hassake alone,” Mgr. Hindo added. According to the information given so far, the jihadist offensive has led to the deaths of four Christians killed in combat after joining the Assyrian militia, deployed with Kurdish battalions against IS militia. At the moment, according to Assyrian sources, a young Christian Assyrian named Milad appears to be the only civilian victim of the Islamists.
According to the CNN which mentions the Assyrian Human Rights Network, the jihadists are about to publish a video message in which they threaten to kill the hostages. The video message is intended for US President Barrack Obama and other leaders of the anti-ISIS Coalition.
According to the Syrian Catholic Archbishop, the jihadists have launched an offensive in the region of the Khabur to find new spaces and escape routes. According to Mgr. Hindo even countermoves proposed by some foreign Countries before the recent military strategies of the Islamic State confirms the serious responsibilities of the West in triggering conflicts that are destroying the Middle East. “With their disastrous policies – the Archbishop explained to Fides – mainly the French and the US, with their regional allies, have favoured in fact the Daesh escalation. 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.”
An appeal to “increase political pressure to protect the religious minorities” in the Syrian region was made this morning by the Intergroup of the European Parliament for freedom of belief and religious tolerance (Forb&rt) which is also asking the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, to open “an international investigation on the crimes committed by ISIS against the minorities in the region” and to “raise the international partners’ awareness of the matter”.
In addition, they condemn the new attacks carried out over the past few days in the northern region of Syria, in some of the villages where the Christian minority lives. “It is one more example of the desperate situation of religious minorities, especially Christians”, who have been living in the region for centuries, commented Peter van Dalen, co-president of the Intergroup, who added: “It is a sad day when people are attacked because of their religious belief”. Dennis De Jong, van Dalen’s colleague at the helm of Forb&rt, stressed, therefore, that the EU and its international partners need to “give priority to the safety of such minorities”.