230 Kidnapped Assyrian Christians Closer to Freedom as ISIS ‘Significantly’ Lowers Ransom Price

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By Leah Marieann Klett (news@gospelherald.com)
As many as two-thirds of the Iraqi Assyrian population have fled from the ISIS expansion over the past year.
A group of 230 Assyrian Christians taken captive by Islamic State terrorists in February may soon be released, as the extremist group recently agreed to significantly lower their demands in the negotiations.

Speaking to Fides News Agency, Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo stated, “In the first attempted contact through intermediaries there was talk of an exorbitant request, amounting to 23 million dollars (about 100 thousand dollars per hostage) to free Christian prisoners.”

Hindo, who is the head of the archieparchy of Hassaké-Nisibis, told the news outlet that the jihadists decided to decrease the ransom price after it became clear the Assyrian Christian community could not pay the original sum.

“Therefore, now, the biggest obstacle regarding the release of our Assyrian brothers is no longer money, but the difficulty of how to organize the phase of liberation,” the Catholic Archbishop said.

“Four buses would be needed to release the hostages from the place of their seizure to get them back to Hassaké and avoid any danger of attacks. In any case, it would be a delicate operation, which in some way should be agreed with the Syrian army forces and Kurdish militias, so that everything proceeds smoothly.”