Christians kidnapped again as ISIS Seizes Qaryatain in Syria

 In Foreign, religion

Possibly hundreds of Christians were kidnapped on Wednesday when the Islamic State  seized control of the town of Qaryatain (Al- Qaryatayn) in the District of Homs, Syria.

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After an intense overnight firefight, ISIS swooped into the town, detonating three suicide bombs at Syrian Army checkpoints early Wednesday morning.

The town is a key point in line between Homs, Palmyra, and  Damascus, and will enable them to have a base of operations for future attacks against Assad’s forces. Those government forces were overwhelmed, which allowed the IS to capture the town.

The Islamic State referred to their action as “liberating” the town.

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Isis fighter waves his flag after the Battle for Al-Qaryatain. He labeled his picture “Dead Nusayris” a derogatory term for Shi’ite – Twitter photo

According to analysts, if ISIS is able to gain control of the main highway between the three cities, Assad may be in serious trouble.

The number of Christians kidnapped in this incident is unclear- media reports at least 60 of the 230 people kidnapped were Christians, many of whom had fled to Qaryatain from other areas that had seen fighting. That number is not verifiable at this time.

Displaced Assyrians in February 2015- IOCC photo

Christians kidnapped

Qaryatain is a town of about 40,000, a mix of Sunni and Shia Muslims, some Chaldean and Syriac Christians,  as well as Assyrian Christians  – which is the oldest sect in the Middle East. The Assyrian Christians have been routed from Qaraqosh and Mosul, Iraq… Qamishli and Hasaka in Syria, and other places all across the region. They have had to flee their homes to stay alive.

It is becoming an all-too-familiar situation in the ISIS controlled areas of the Middle East, and one which is posing problems for all nations, as streams of Christian refugees have to leave their homelands to go elsewhere to keep from being killed.

Christian women are being sold as sex slaves within the Islamic State, and brutally murdered if they refuse the sexual demands of the men. Christian men are often slaughtered outright. Sometimes the lucky ones are ransomed back to the families, who have to raise money to pay for them.

The situation has produced hundreds of thousands of refugees across the Middle East. And they are rapidly running out of places to run, as some nations become overwhelmed.

Jordan has seen 7,000 Christians arrive in Amman, many of them women. A full year after they arrived, they still cannot work in the country, which means that their hope of a future is growing dim.

 

 

 

 

 

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