Islamic State kidnaps 230 civilians in Syria: Monitor group
The Islamic State group has abducted 230 civilians, including at least 60 Christians, in a central Syrian town just hours after capturing it, according to a prominent monitoring group on Saturday.world Updated: Aug 07, 2015 17:20 IST
The Islamic State group has abducted 230 civilians, including at least 60 Christians, in a central Syrian town just hours after capturing it, according to a prominent monitoring group on Saturday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the civilians were captured on Friday in the town of Al-Qaryatain, which IS militants had captured late on Wednesday.
"Daesh kidnapped at least 230 people, including at least 60 Christians, during a sweep through Al-Qaryatain," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said, using the Arabic name for the extremist group.
Many of the Christians had fled from Aleppo province, in Syria's north, to seek refuge in Al-Qaryatain.
He said those abducted were wanted by IS for "collaborating with the regime," and their names were on a list used by the jihadists as they swept through the town.
Families who tried to flee or hide were tracked down and taken by the jihadists, he said.
Al-Qaryatain lies at the crossroads between IS territory in the eastern countryside of Homs and areas further west in the Qalamun area. It had a pre-war population of 18,000, including Sunni Muslims and around 2,000 Syriac Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
According to a Syrian Christian who lives in Damascus but is originally from Al-Qaryatain, the town's Christian population barely numbers 300 now.
In May, masked men abducted Syrian priest Jacques Mourad from the Syriac Catholic Mar Elian monastery in Al-Qaryatain, near the IS-captured ancient city of Palmyra.
Mourad, who was known to help both Christians and Muslims, was preparing aid for an influx of refugees from Palmyra.