ICC Note: The situation in Syria for Christians remains one of incredibly grave danger. Even as the release of 37 hostages provided a glimmer of hope, more than 120 remain in captivity near Hassakeh and another 200 in the SW part of the country. ISIS militants continue to make territorial gains that have caused new Christians to flee their homelands.
11/09/2015 Syria (Catholic Herald) – ISIS terrorists released 37 Syrian Christians over the weekend, part of a group of 200 Assyrians they kidnapped in February.
The Assyrian Human Rights Network posted pictures on its Facebook page of the newly freed civilians arriving in the predominantly ethnic Assyrian village of Tal Tamr, in the northeastern Hassakeh province. The photos show a woman kissing the hand of an elderly woman in tears, and a priest greeting the former captives in a church ceremony.
The group said in a statement that negotiations continue for the release of another 124 people who remain in captivity, according to AP news. Edmond Gabriel, chairman of the Assyrian Charitable Association in Hassakeh province, said 27 of the released are women. He said another group of captives was expected to be released today.
ISIS murdered three Assyrians in October but has previously released others through negotiations.
The release comes as thousands of Syrian Christians flee an ISIS onslaught on the Christian town of Sadad. The Syrian Orthodox archbishop of Homs, Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that ISIS had been pushing at the town, 45 miles south of Homs, since October 31.