The Islamic State has begun killing some of the 150 or more Christians taken hostage after the capture of several villages in northeast Syria, Aid to the Church in Need reports.
Meanwhile an estimated 5,000 Christians in the region have fled their villages in the days following the Islamic State’s offensive, according to a report from Agence France-Presse. Most have fled to Al-Hasakah, the regional capital, or to Qamishli, a city of 180,000 on the Turkish border. There are reportedly no Christians remaining in the villages taken by the Islamic State, except those who are being held hostage.
“Around 15 young Assyrians were martyred,” reported Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana, who added that the number of Christians in captivity now may be as high as 350. He said that at least one woman had been beheaded and two men shot.
It was unclear, from early reports, whether the Christians killed were hostages taken from the first villages captured by the Islamic State, or residents of other villages that were battling against the Muslim militants.
The region’s leading Syriac Catholic prelate, Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, said that the Turkey has allowed Islamic State militants to cross the border into Syria but is not permitting fleeing Christians to enter Turkey. http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=24154