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Details Behind the 150 Christians Kidnapped in N. Syria

The story of ISIS holding 150 Christian hostages according to my sources is true.  However the story being reported now seems to have left out a few relevant details.  The official story is that ISIS stormed villages in the Hasaka region and kidnapped Christians in the villages.  Osama Edward, founder of the Assyrian Human Rights Network who is based in Stockholm, Sweden said, “They are facing death, people are unarmed, they are peaceful. And they need help, they are just left alone — no one’s protecting them.”  

However rebel sources in the area have said that many of the prisoners are from the Sootoro Christian militia, a group that is headed by Maliki Rabbaho.  This group was being trained by Peshmerga forces to fight ISIS.  Sources say that when ISIS attacked the villages these prisoners fell into their hands.

Rebel fighters in the area have said that there is a good chance that some civilians are mixed in with the fighters as well from amongst the hostages.  This seems to be consistent with a message that Osamah Edward said a kidnapped woman sent to her husband.  The message, according to Edward, said that the kidnappers were interrogating the hostages about whether the women were a part of the local militias.  Contrary to other forces in the region, Peshmerga fighters are known to train their women to participate militarily in their conflicts.  So the presence of women as hostages should be understood in the broader context of the conflict.

As I spoke to rebel forces in the region, they did highlight the great disdain that the Syrian people in general do have for the group ISIS in the territories that they control in the Syria.  However, it must be borne in mind that the story is still developing and details are slowly emerging.

About Bilal Abdul Kareem

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