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ISIS Abducts Dozens of Christian Families from Syrian Town, Main Concern is 'Sexual Slavery, Mass Executions, and Beheading'

Leah Marieann Klett : Aug 10, 2015  Gospel Herald

The report notes that the current location of the kidnapped Christians is unknown, and family members have been unable to make contact.

airlift(Syria)—Islamic State fighters have captured dozens of Christian families after overtaking a strategically located town in the central Syrian province of Homs last night, a monitor has revealed. ISIS jihadis have posted a series of images of militants posing with captured tanks on affiliated Facebook pages since capturing the heavily populated Syrian town of Qaryatain. (Photo: Fr. Jacques Mourad-a priest with the Syriac Catholic Church-who was kidnapped from his Mar Elian Monastery in the Syrian town of Qaryatayn İR Ziad/Oeuvre D'Orient/AFP/via Daily Mail)

On Friday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadist group had captured Qaryatain after heavy combat with the Syrian army Thursday night. At least 230 people were kidnapped amid the fighting, including numerous Christians who were seeking refuge in a church.

Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Observatory, said the Christians were "either kidnapped from checkpoints or raids or from churches." Among those seized were 45 women and 19 children, including 11 families, some of whom were on a militants' wanted list, the monitor revealed.

Many of the Christians in the town had reportedly sought safety in the town, having fled from the group's advancement in the Northern Province of Aleppo earlier this year. The report notes that the current location of the kidnapped Christians is unknown, and family members have been unable to make contact.

Speaking to the Mail Online, Diana Yaqco, a spokesman for A Demand for Action, said the main concern for the captured Christians is "sexual slavery, mass executions, and beheadings."

airlift"I don't really see a good chance of them being released, whether they are kept in captivity, sold as sex slaves or killed," Benjamin Decker, analyst at the Tel Aviv-based geopolitical risk consultancy The Levantine Group, told Newsweek. "The prospect of their release is very slim." (Screengrab via Daily Mail)

"I don't think we are in a situation where they will be offering a ransom for their release," he added. "This was a political intelligence operation to disrupt some sort of governance that was existing in the town before they entered."

Amnesty International said it was investigating SOHR's report, but called the abduction "very worrying" if verified.

"This does sound credible," Amnesty Syria research Neil Sammonds told the Guardian. "We know that Christians and 'collaborators' are a target of IS. They are at the highest risk either for some kind of summary justice or for Christians in particular, some kind of high ransom demand or exchange," he added.

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