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ICC Note: An enclave of Christians in NE Syria continue to face attacks from ISIS militants. Last month more than 150 civilians were kidnapped and remain held by the Islamic terrorist groups. Some are committed to stay, but by the thousands Christians have left the area. Entire villages are completely emptied of Christians, a cluster of villages that once held as many as 30,000 Christians.

04/15/2015 Syria (Haaretz) The streets of Tel Tamer are barren aside from a few ragged dogs, a band of Christian fighters and a handful of locals like Athur Ishak, a 32-year-old mother of one who has chosen to remain in her ghost town.

It’s not long after the Islamic State’s February offensive on 11 of the 35 Christian villages nestled along the Khabur River in northern Syria. The villages surrounding Tel Tamer fell like dominoes and over 150 civilians were kidnapped, sending the remaining families into a mass exodus. Some hostages have been forced to convert to Islam, a Christian official says.

“We should resist and stay; we shouldn’t leave our land,” says Ishak over the roar of a mortar attack a few hundred meters down the road.

The young mother sits in her minute home with her 9-year-old son Ashur Francis, a picture of the Last Supper hanging crookedly on the wall behind them. Ishak divorced her husband nine years ago and her family fled the Syrian turmoil and moved to Canada and the United States.

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