Friday 21 July 2017

Isil captures dozens of Christians in swoop

Ruth Sherlock

ISLAMIC State militants have captured dozens of Christian families after snatching the regime-held Syrian town of Qaryatain.

The extremist group are said by observers to have seized entire families from churches and houses on Wednesday as they gained control after taking three checkpoints in a spate of suicide attacks.

As many as 230 people are missing, including followers of the Syriac Orthodox or Syriac Catholic churches.

Bishop Matta al-Khoury, secretary of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus, said Isil had used a number of kidnapped residents as human shields against regime air-strikes.

Qaryatain, south-west of the ancient city of Palmyra, had a pre-war population of 18,000, including Sunni Muslims and 2,000 Syriac Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

Bishop al-Khoury said around 180 Christians were in the town when Isil seized control.

Irish Independent

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