Hassakè (Agenzia Fides) - The jihadists affiliated to the self-styled Islamic State (Daesh) have released 43 other Assyrian Christians of the group of about 250 people who had been taken from the Christian villages of the Khabour river valley, in the north-east of Syria, during an offensive which was being carried out in that area by jihadist militias on 23 February. Since then, the Christians taken hostage on that occasion have been gradually released. At the beginning of last October, the video of the execution of three Assyrian Christians of the Khabur Valley (see Fides 08/10/2015) had been released on jihadi websites. The video, filmed according to the macabre ritual also seen in similar cases by jihadist propaganda, warned that the executions of the other hostages would continue until the sum demanded as a ransom was paid for their release.
According to sources of the Assyrian Church of the East, after the liberation of the 43 hostages confirmed on Monday, February 22, there are no more Christians of the Khabur valley who are still in the hands of the jihadists, who, however, still hold hostage nearly 180 Syrian and Assyrian Christians of the city of Qaryatayn, conquered by Daesh on 6 August. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 23/02/2016)