ISIL in Syria abducts hundreds of Assyrian Christians, possible deaths

Refugee and Migrant Crisis

The number of Assyrian Christians abducted by ISIL in northern Syria may be higher than initially thought. Members of the Assyrian community said as many as 400 people were abducted by the terrorist group and some possibly killed. CCTV America’s Nathan King filed this report from Washington

ISIL in Syria abducts hundreds of Assyrian Christians, possible deaths

ISIL in Syria abducts hundreds of Assyrian Christians, possible deaths

The number of Assyrian Christians abducted by ISIL in northern Syria may be higher than initially thought. Members of the Assyrian community said as many as 400 people were abducted by the terrorist group and some possibly killed. CCTV America's Nathan King filed this report from Washington

There are several reports that some of those taken may have already been killed. Another ethnic minority has been targeted by ISIL and fears are growing about the fate of dozens, perhaps hundreds of elderly men, women and children.

They were taken from about 12 villages near the town of Tal Tamr in Syria’s Hassakeh province in the northeast part of the country near the Turkey/Iraq border.

Members of the Assyrian community are appealing for help.

“All the political parties and the community want to issue a statement to strongly condemn these actions by ISIL and to ask the international community and our friends here and abroad to help us to rescue our land, which is under the control of this aggressive terrorist organization,” A member of Bet Nahrain Democratic Party Romeo Hakari said.

Assyrians are one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Middle East. Six-thousand years ago, it had one of the biggest empires. After converting to Christianity, they have been increasingly persecuted during a growing Arab influence in the region. They speak their own ancient language, a version of Aramaic and live largely in northwest Iraq and northeast Syria.

Complicating matters for the group, it has largely sided with the Syrian government forces of President Bashar al-Assad or stayed neutral. As ISIL has grown, Assyrians formed their own militia. Some volunteers have come from the West to fight alongside them against the terrorists.

Brett is a former U.S. marine from Texas.

“I can’t sit home and watch what’s going on here, the atrocities, crucifixions, rape, sex slaves, people being driven out from their towns, it’s unacceptable to me, so I’m here to do what I can to get these towns back and get people back in their homes,” Brett said.

ISIL has targeted a number of ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria. The US intervened last year when ISIL attacked the Yazidi community in Iraq, but with US intervention largely limited to airstrikes, ISIL continues to persecute many muslims and non-Muslims on the ground.