Monitoring Group: IS Abducts Christians in Syria

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the UK-based monitoring group, militants from the Islamic State have captured dozens of families who are Christians. The abductions came after the radical militant group seized control of a town in Homs, said the group on Friday.

SOHR said that 230 or more people had been detained or kidnapped, including dozens who were Christian and some of whom were taken from a church located in al-Qaryatain, which is a small town that IS took control of following heavy fighting with government troops.

Amongst those seized were 19 children and as many as 45 women, including close to a dozen families, some of whom had been on the wanted list of the militants, said the monitoring group that tracks the violence of the war through a group of sources on the ground throughout the country.

In addition, there were hundreds of residents, both Christian and Muslims, whose families do not know their condition.

Qaryatain is close to the road that links Palmyra up to the Qalamoun Mountains, which run along the Lebanon and Syria border.

The militant group, which is known for its brutality, has gained ground in areas both south and east of Homs after it took the city of Palmyra over this past May.

The Syrian army launched a counteroffensive attempting to recapture the city, which is in an area were some of the largest gas fields in Syria are located.

However, thus far the counteroffensive has not made any significant advances.

A statement released by the army said its troops had been targeting outposts of the terrorists across the area and had killed a number of the militants but did not confirm the militants had captured the town.

A group of Assyrian Christians said the abductions were just the latest in a number of events that have targeted their community, which is one of the oldest populations of Christians anywhere in the Middle East.

Two priests Monk Petros and Father Yacoub Murad, who were in charge of two area monasteries went missing this past May from Qaryatain, said a lobby group that represents Christians.

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