ISIS Video Shows Brutal Executions of 3 Assyrian Christians in Ethno-Religious Cleansing, Persecution Group Confirms

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By Vincent Funaro , Christian Post Reporter
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)
Assyrians hold banners as they march in solidarity with the Assyrians abducted by Islamic State fighters in Syria earlier this week, in Beirut, Labanon, February 28, 2015. Militants in northeast Syria are now estimated to have abducted at least 220 Assyrian Christians this week, a group monitoring the war reported.

The Islamic State terror group has reportedly released a video showing the execution of three Assyrian Christian hostages after ransoms were not paid for their release last month.

The hostages were from the towns of Tal Jazirah and Tal Shamiram in the Khabur river valley, al Hasakah province, in northern Syria, according to A Demand for Action, an organization that specializes in protecting Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs and other ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East.

“The terrorist group ISIS has published a video of brutal executions of three Assyrian men that were kidnapped in February earlier this year. Since the kidnappings, the negotiations were carried out with the best abilities,” wrote Diana Yaqco, of the Christian presecution watchdog group A Demand for Action, in an email to The Christian Post.

“We condemn this latest act of barbarism in the strongest possible terms. The systematic ethno-religious cleansing of Assyrians/Syriacs/Chaldeans continues. They are helpless. They are children. They are women. They are somebody’s father and brother,” added Yaqco.

The victims include Dr. Abdulmasih Aniya, Ashur Abraham and Bassam Michael. They are the first three Assyrian hostages to be executed out of over 200 that were abducted by the radical Islamic group last February in a series of Assyrian settlements on the Khabur river in northeast Syria.

“We plea and beg of the international community to intervene immediately,” continued Yaqco. “We have been driven out of our ancestral lands. We have been killed and crucified. The international community must act now to save lives of others kidnapped.”

The video shows the victims dressed in orange jumpsuits before they are shot dead. One of the hostages shouts: “There are dozens of us, our destiny is the same like those men if you do not take appropriate action to release us, help us from the inevitable fate,” before he is killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

IS released 22 hostages in August after what SOHR described as “tireless efforts and negotiations by the Assyrian Church of the East in the city of Hasakeh.” There were 14 women among those released, according to the report.

At the time, a representative for the Assyrian Network for Human Rights, another humanitarian group that has been working for the release of Christians, felt optimistic about the hostage negotiations.

“There is a positive atmosphere around the negotiation,” said ANHR Director Osama Edward, who vowed that negotiations to free them all would continue.

Despite the release of 22 Christians, IS kidnapped an additional 100 Assyrian families in August from the town of al-Qaryatain in the Homs district of western Syria.

Bishop Yatron Koliana of the Assyrian Church of the East in Beirut described the magnitude of problems for Assyrians in the region concerning the Syrian civil war and IS’ reign of terror.

“My personal sources say there are about 15,000 families left in Syria. Of course, they do not live in the villages captured by militants, but were able to temporarily relocate to nearby towns,” said Koliana in August.

Koliana, like many human rights organizations, hopes the Western world will intervene to help ease the suffering of persecuted Christians in the region.

“We very much hope that countries such as Russia and the United States will hear our call for help from their Christian brothers in the Middle East,” the bishop added.

Both the U.S. and Russia have carried out a series of airstrikes in recent weeks in areas inside Syria where Islamic State has taken hold.

Earlier this week, Russia announced that its Navy had launched at least 26 missiles against IS in the region.

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