carey-lodge Carey Lodge Christian Today Journalist 31 March 2016
Miriam David Talya with the Bishop of Syria, His Grace Mar Afram Athneil.
ISIS has released an Assyrian Christian girl, the last remaining hostage of a group abducted in northern Syria last February.
Miriam David Talya was originally supposed to be released on February 22 this year, along with 42 other hostages. However, militants removed her from the list of those they freed without notifying the Assyrian Church of the East in Syria, which had been negotiating with the captors.
Further negotiations then began, which resulted in Miriam’s release on Easter Sunday. She arrived in her town of Tel Tamar later that day, and photos have been published online showing her being greeted by the Bishop of Syria, His Grace Mar Afram Athneil.
Miriam was among more than 200 people abducted from villages along the Khabur River on 23 February 2015. ISIS militants undertook raids on a number of Assyrian villages near Tel Hmar, burning churches and forcing hundreds of families to flee.
The Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO) has said no hostages are now held by ISIS. However, according to the Assyrian International News Agency, militants are still holding one girl, who has been married off to a high ranking ISIS official.
Christian Today has approached ACERO to substantiate this claim.
Since the attacks last February, ISIS has besieged several ancient Assyrian sites, including the Iraqi city of Nimrud, the village of Khorsabad, and Hatra, a 2,000-year-old city.
An ancient branch of Christianity, the Assyrian Church of the East has roots dating back to the 1st century AD. Assyrian Christians speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus, and have origins in ancient Mesopotamia – a territory which spreads across northern Iraq, north-east Syria and south-eastern Turkey.