Sunday 11 December 2016

Isil captures dozens of Christians in swoop

Ruth Sherlock

Published 08/08/2015 | 02:30

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

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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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