• ISIS Kidnaps 160 Christians In Syria

    Islamic State reportedly kidnapped up to 160 Christians when militants captured a Syrian town last week.

    “Reports that it could be around 160 persons sound realistic,” Father Jihad Youssef told International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. Youssef is a member of a Syrian-Catholic religious order with a monastery in the captured town of Al Qaryatayn.

    “This is approximately the number of Christians who had remained in Al Qaryatayn until the last. But we do not know if all of the remaining Christians were taken as hostages by ISIS, or if some went into hiding.

    “Especially the Christians close to Al Qarytayn are anxious,” he added. “Many people are thinking of leaving their homes, or even leaving the country. The fear is growing.”

    Youssef said he no longer has any form of contact with the monastery, and has no idea what happened to the workers there or whether ISIS is occupying the space, but he said about 30 Christians had successfully fled the town.

    “Does ISIS intend to negotiate and let the people go free, or does it intend to kill them? We don’t know,” he added. “Normally they give Christians three options: They pay the Jizya tax; they convert to Islam, or they must leave the place. The last option was evidently not offered, or the Christians would have left.”

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