Syrian Christians’ fears have increased following the murder of a priest and his father on 11 November, in an attack for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Christian leaders in northern Syria are very concerned about their communities’ vulnerability following the launch of Turkey’s incursion on 9 October.
A new report estimates that 50-80% of the Christian populations of Iraq and Syria have emigrated since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
A group of 21 TDs and Senators have called on the Irish Government to recognise as genocide what is being perpetrated by ISIS against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria.
On 22 February, Islamic State released a final group of 43 Assyrian Christian hostages from the Hassaka group abducted in February 2015.
Earlier today (29 January), another group of 16 Christian hostages was freed by Islamic State militants who had been holding them captive since February 2015.
The latest group of released hostages is comprised mainly of women and children and includes four mothers and their children. As with previous releases, the freed hostages were met by Bishop of Syria Mar Afram Athneil who is Chairman of the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO).
Yesterday (14 January), a further group of Assyrian Christian hostages was released by Islamic State militants who had been holding them captive since February 2015.
The released hostages comprised eight children, three women and five men. They arrived in Tel Temir town, Hassaka province, northeast Syria on Thursday afternoon. They were met and embraced by Archbishop Afram Athneil, Chairman of Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO).
On Christmas Day, Islamic State militants released a further group of 25 Assyrian Christian hostages whom they had held captive since February.
The released hostages comprise two men, seven women, and sixteen children between the ages of 3 and 11 (the children belong to six of the seven released women).
On 24 November, Islamic State released ten more Assyrian Christian hostages – five women and five men.
The hostages were among the 253 Christians abducted on 23 February 2015 when Islamic State attacked 35 Assyrian villages along the Khabur River in Hassaka province, northeast Syria. During the attacks, 3,000 other Assyrians were driven from their villages; most have not returned.
On 7 November, Islamic State released 37 more of the Assyrian Christians captured in Hassaka province in February.