MILITANTS FROM THE ISLAMIC STATE (IS) have kidnapped 72 Assyrian Christian families – around 200 people – from three villages in Syria and threatened to kill all the men unless Kurdish militias release IS hostages.

The abductions happened in the villages of Tel Jazira, Tel Gouran and Tel Hormizd in Hassaka province in February. All the victims were reported to have been taken to the Arab Sunni village, Um Al-Masamier. Another 50 families are under threat in Tel Shamiram village which has seen a fierce fight between IS and Kurdish fighters.

Concerned relatives abroad tried to phone the abducted villagers but the mobiles were answered by the IS henchmen.

George Casten tried to call missing relatives from Sweden and later said: “They told us that we should not call any longer since we cannot do anything about their situation.”

Chris Eyte

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