Last Assyrian Christian hostages released by ISIS

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By RÛDAW 1 hour ago
A photo of the 43 hostages released by ISIS. Photo: Catholoc Herald
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Forty three Assyrian Christian hostages, kidnapped by Islamic State (ISIS) in northeast Syria a year ago, have been released today.

“The Assyrian Church of the East’s Diocese of Syria, under the leadership of His Grace Mar Afram Athneil has also confirmed that this freed group comprises the final hostages from the group abducted from Assyrian villages in February 2015,” reported the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization (ACERO) in a statement on their website.

At least 250 Assyrian Christians were kidnapped by ISIS from villages in the Khabour region of Syria in February 2015. Over the year, ISIS has released them in small groups.

ISIS had demanded $100,000 ransom for each hostage. It is unknown what ransom, if any, was paid for the release of the final 43 hostages.

At least three of the hostages were shot during the year-long negotiations. ISIS threatened to kill more if ransoms were not paid.

“While this news thankfully marks the end of the most recent tribulation,” ACERO stated, “we mourn the tremendous losses, both human and material, suffered by the indigenous Assyrians of Syria.”