Last week, on Monday 22 February, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) released the remaining 43 Christians who were taken hostage on 23 February 2015 from villages along the Khabur River in northeast Syria.
The released Assyrian Christians were among a group of 230 who were abducted by IS when they raided 35 predominantly Assyrian villages in the region. All of those abducted in those raids are now accounted for. Almost all have been released, many in recent months following negotiations by church representatives. However, a video released by IS in early October 2015 showed the execution of three Assyrian Christians, two of whom were from this group.
In a statement, the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation thanked all who have stood with the Assyrians of Syria during the arduous twelve months of this ordeal. While rejoicing in the release of these hostages, they note the ongoing impact of the losses suffered by the Assyrian communities of Syria, including the destruction of livelihoods.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.