TERRORIST group Islamic State has started killing hostages seized after it took Assyrian Christian villages in Syria’s Hassake governorate, with reports that about 15 are dead.
In a message sent to Catholic agencies working in the region, including Aid to the Church in Need, Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana passed on news of the executions from a contact in Hassake city, and said the number still being held exceeded 350.
Fr Youkhana, who supports persecuted Christians in the Middle East, said: “Around 15 young Assyrians are martyred. Many of them were fighting to defend and protect the villages and families.”
From the village of Tel Hormizd 14 people were taken – 12 men and two women – who were fighting to defend their homes.
Reports indicate that of the Tel Hormizd fighters one woman has been beheaded and two men shot.
There is no information about who the other executed captives are.
Fr Youkhana’s source in Hassake reported that at least 350 people had been captured by IS.
In addition to the executed fighters, 81 people were seized from Tel Jazira, 21 from Tel Gouran, five from Tel Feytha and three from Qabir Shamiya.
All of the above are being held in the Arab Sunni village of Um Al-Masamier.
Also, 51 families from the village of Tel Shamiram have been taken – Fr Youkhana said: “The average is five persons per family.”
None of the families from Tel Shamiram managed to escape.
“It is believed there are casualties and many Assyrians have been killed in the village,” Fr Youkhana said.
He said there was no news about where the families were being held: “Most probably they have been captured and transported to Mount Abdul Aziz, a nearby region controlled by IS.”
There are no families left in the 35 Assyrian Christian villages, all remaining villagers have now fled to Hassake or Qamishli.
Fr Bakos, from Tel Tamar, was the last person to leave and travel to Hassake.
He reported that the only people left there were Tel Tamar fighters who were trying to defend the town alongside Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Kurdish Party) soldiers.
Fr Youkhana said the displaced registered families till yesterday evening included 800 families in Hassake and 175 in Qamishli.