IS Releases 16 Assyrian Christian Hostages in Syria

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BEIRUT – The Islamic State group released on Friday 16 Assyrian Christian hostages of a group of 200 Syrians kidnapped by the jihadist group about a year ago in Syria.
The 16 hostages, including some nine women and several children, were released by IS in the Syrian northeastern province of al-Hasakah, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said without clarifying whether or not a ransom was paid to the terrorist group.

The London-based NGO recalled that the Assyrian hostages were kidnapped late February 2015 in the Syrian town of Tel Tamr and its periphery in al-Hasakah.

In recent months, IS has released some Assyrian hostages.

Al-Hasakah is home to most Assyrians in Syria, who are a Christian minority living also in Iraq and Turkey.

Before the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, there were 200,000 Assyrians in the Arab country, but now there are only 15,000 to 20,000.