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Mediators Secure Release of 25 Assyrian Christians Kidnapped by Daesh

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Mediators have secured the release of 25 Assyrian Christians kidnapped by the Islamic State jihadist group (Daesh in Arabic) in February, a representative of the group in northeastern Syria told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

QAMISHLI (Syria), (Sputnik) – Daesh militants had captured 36 Christian villages along the Khabur River in the province of Hasakah in February. The extremist group destroyed ancient churches, killed scores of civilians and kidnapped over 300 Assyrians in the offensive.

Up to 100 of those kidnapped, most of them elderly, have since been set free in exchange for ransom payments.

"Today, 25 Assyrians were released from among those kidnapped by Daesh terrorists on February 23. They were released after ransom was paid through intermediaries," Ahiqar Issa, community leader in the town of Qamishli, said.

Christian Assyrian flag. File photo - Sputnik International
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Issa said the group was taken to the town of Tall Tamr immediately following their release.

The Syrian army, backed by the Assyrian militia known as the Khabur defenders, has reclaimed and restored state control of the ransacked and abandoned Christian settlements in Hasakah.

Over 15,000 Assyrian Christian families remain at risk in Syria amid the ongoing crisis, according to the Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon.

Assyrians are an ethnic group whose historic home lies in southeast Turkey, north Iraq and northeast Syria, and are considered the earliest group to adopt Christianity.

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