ISIS releases 10 Assyrian Christian hostages north Syria

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An Assyrian woman breaking in tears while leaving her hometown of Tel Temir after ISIS militants took over several villages in the countryside, February 2015. Photo: ARA News
ARA News
TEL TEMIR – The radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) released Tuesday a new batch of Assyrian hostages after months of abduction in Tel Temir town in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, Assyrian Network for Human Rights (ANHR) in Syria reported.

The ANHR released a statement, of which ARA News received a copy, saying: “Islamic State group has freed ten Assyrian hostages, including five women on Tuesday evening.”

“The network’s monitors in Hasakah were informed that the released Assyrians arrived in the mostly-Assyrian town of Tel Temir at 17:00 on Tuesday,” the statement read.

“The resealed Assyrians, who are residents of the towns of Tel Shamiram, Tel Jazeera, Qabr Shamiya and Tel Fayda, are in good health conditions.”

“The total number of the released since the start of the negotiations has reached 98, mostly sick and elderly,” the network added.

This batch of the freed hostages comes as a result of the ongoing negotiations headed by the Bishop St. Ephrem Otnaial with the help of local mediations. The negotiations have been taking place for nearly eight months.

As for the release of the remaining Assyrian abductees, Osama Edward, director of the ANHR told ARA News: “We cannot disclose details on the negotiation process due to the gravity and sensitivity of the situation.”

“There have been indirect negotiations with ISIS in order to release the rest of the hostages,” he said.

“The conflict in Syria has been inciting the various ethnic and religious groups to expand at the expense of each other. ISIS has been attacking Assyrian Christians on this basis,” he added.

“The declared Kurdish Auto-Administration in Hasakah (led by the Democratic Union Party “PYD”) has also worked roughly against Assyrians through suspicious political and administrative procedures which seek to evacuate the area of its inherent Assyrian component,” Edward told ARA News.

In February, ISIS radicals launched a major offensive on Assyrian villages in the vicinity of Tel Temir town in Hasakah province, during which they took hundreds of civilians as hostages.

In October, the hardline group executed three Assyrian captives who were abducted earlier during attacks on Christian villages near Tel Temir town, according to a footage published by the group at the time.

Last August, ISIS freed 22 Assyrian hostages after six months of abduction in Tel Temir town in Hasakah province. The office of the Assyrian Archbishop in Hasakah said that the released hostages included 14 women and eight men.

The ANHR concluded that ISIS extremists kidnapped 235 Assyrians from Tel Tmir surroundings on February 23 subsequent to intense fighting with the Kurdish armed forces.

Reporting by: Muhammad Ali

Source: ARA News