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ISIS frees 10 kidnapped Syrian Christians: Monitors

AFP , Tuesday 24 Nov 2015
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The Islamic State militant group has released 10 Assyrian Christians nine months after kidnapping them in northeastern Syria, two monitoring groups said on Tuesday.

The Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights said the 10, who include five women, were released "as the result of the tireless efforts and negotiations by the Assyrian Church of the East."

The group are among more than 200 members of the Christian minority who were seized by the militants as they swept through the Khabur region in Hasakeh in February.

Around 140-150 of the hostages are believed to still be held by the group, which has periodically released a handful of the captured at a time.

The release was also reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

Assyrians numbered about 30,000 among Syria's 1.2 million Christians before the country's conflict began. They lived mostly in 35 villages in Hasakeh.

In February, IS overran many of the villages, but Kurdish forces later expelled the militants from all the places it had seized.

ISIS has captured hundreds of hostages, including Christians from different sects, in territory in Syria and Iraq.

More than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government demonstrations in March 2011.

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