ASIA/SYRIA - Archbishop Hindo: the demands of the jihadists for the release of the Assyrian hostages are more accessible

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Hassaké (Agenzia Fides) - The approximately 230 Assyrian Christians that the jihadists of Daesh (the Islamic State) took hostage at the end of February, when they attacked the villages in the valley of the river Khabur, are still in the hands of their kidnappers. The place of their detention in all probability is still in the al-Shaddadi stronghold of Daesh, 60 kilometers from Hassaké. Meanwhile, the conditions of the kidnappers to release them are more accessible. This was reported to Agenzia Fides by Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, head of archieparchy of Hassaké-Nisibis.
"In the first attempted contact through intermediaries - said the Syrian Catholic Archbishop - there was talk of an exorbitant request, amounting to 23 million dollars (about 100 thousand dollars per hostage) to free Christian prisoners". Faced with the answers of those who declared the impossibility of collecting such an exorbitant amount of money, the negotiations were interrupted. But now – adds Mgr. Hindo – they are asking for much, much less. Therefore, now, the biggest obstacle regarding the release of our Assyrian brothers is no longer money, but the difficulty of how to organize the phase of liberation. Four buses would be needed to release the hostages from the place of their seizure to get them back to Hassaké and avoid any danger of attacks. In any case, it would be a delicate operation, which in some way should be agreed with the Syrian army forces and Kurdish militias, so that everything proceeds smoothly". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 08/09/2015)