ISIS Kidnaps 100 Christians in Syria: Prisoner Swap, or Libya-Style Propaganda?

(UPDATED) Christian leader: In light of ‘barbaric record with the captured, the destiny of these families is a major concern to us.’

Update (Feb. 25): Assyrian activists tell CNN that they expect ISIS to release a video today threatening to kill the approximately 150 Christian captives unless President Obama and other leaders end joint air strikes against the group.

An “official” confirmed the claim, CNN noted Wednesday morning on its Twitter account.

The Assyrian Human Rights Network has been chronicling the attack’s aftermath via photos on its Facebook page. The US State Department said it “condemns [the attack] in the strongest possible terms.”

CT will update this post as events unfold.

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ISIS militants launched surprise attacks on 35 Christian villages along a river in northeast Syria yesterday, taking an estimated 100 to 200 hostages. Coming one week after the videotaped beheadings of 21 Christians in Libya, the incident raises concern of whether a prisoner swap or another propaganda-driven massacre is in the making.

The fierce offensive along a 40-kilometer stretch of the Khabour River in Hassaka province forced some 3,000 Assyrian Christians to flee their homes. A teenage Christian boy and four Assyrian militia fighters were reported killed in the first day of fighting, and dozens of Assyrian men, women, and children were reported to be held hostage by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

Militants seized an unconfirmed number of Christians from at least 100 Assyrian families in the attacks, according to a Christian source in Hassaka city who spoke on Tuesday morning with Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana, of the Assyrian Church of the East.

The hostages were taken prisoner in Tel Shamiran, Tel Goran, Tel Jezirah, and Tel Hormizd. In these four villages, the source said, the IS militants separated the captured …

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