ISIS Holding 262 Christian Hostages In Syria, Activists Say

ISIS continues it’s terror campaign and is now holding up to 262 Christian hostages in Syria, according to reports from activist.

The brutal group raided cities in northeastern Syria in the last few days and took hundreds of Assyrian Christians captive, including women and children, the reports indicate.

The situation for the hostages is dire, if past behavior by ISIS is any indication, and their fates are uncertain at this time. Experts in the West believe the terrorists will use the Christians for propaganda purposes or in an attempt to get funding to continue their reign of horror.

ISIS kidnaps Assyrian Christians

A few weeks ago, ISIS staged a video depicting the mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in what they said was a beach in Libya. Later on, experts believed the video was staged and altered for maximum impact.

It has become apparent that the terrorist group is targeting religious minorities in the area, specifically Christians, but Muslims who don’t accept their rule are also victims of their brutality. Osama Edward, founder of the Assyrian Human Rights Network, claims ISIS has taken 262 Christians captive and is begging for help from the West.

“ISIS is taking over more and more Assyrian towns,” Edward told CNN of information he is reportedly getting from people on the ground.

When news broke of the ISIS mass kidnapping the numbers stood at between 70 and 100 hostages, however, those figures have increased in the following days with some estimating it could be almost 1,000 people. In a statement Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates the number of Assyrian Christian hostages taken over three days of attacks to be at 220.

The Assyrians date back some 4,000 years to Mesopotamia and have historically been an integral part of Syria. They are predominantly Christian and live in tightly knit communities with a strong sense of tradition. Despite being targeted by ISIS, some have taken up arms against the terrorist group to defend their families and are fighting alongside the Kurdish resistance, which has had some success in pushing back the group in recent weeks.

Leaders in the region believe their very existence is being threatened and are asking for help — in the form of arms for Kurdish forces — from America and its allies. However, Reuters reports that the U.S. led coalition fighting ISIS carried out airstrikes on Thursday in response to the mass abduction of the Assyrian Christians.

A prominent Syrian Christian, Bassam Ishak, told the news agency that families are desperate to contact loved ones they believe have been abducted by ISIS.

“Some people have tried to call them by cellphone, the relatives that have been abducted, and they get an answer from a member of ISIS who tells that they will send the head of their relative. They are trying to terrorize the parents, the relatives in the Christian Assyrian community.”

Reports of ISIS atrocities against their captives include the now famous beheading and burning alive of hostages — such as was the case with the Jordanian pilot — selling young girls into sex slavery, raping of girls as young as eight-years-old, training young boys to become terrorists and other unspeakable acts of depravity, all of which ISIS claims is justified in the Qur’an and by the example of Mohammad. With the kidnapping of the Assyrian Christians, ISIS continues the push to establish their ruthless Islamic Caliphate in the region.

[Photo by and Paula Bronstein/Getty Images]