Syrian, Iraqi Christians plead for international assistance

AP , Tuesday 17 Mar 2015

Syrian and Iraqi Christians are pleading for more international assistance after fleeing attack by militants from the Islamic State group.

They spoke Tuesday in two Beirut churches where they lined up to receive food baskets and other humanitarian assistance from a non-profit organization called In Defense of Christians (IDC), whose mission is to protect Christians in the Middle East.

IS overran a cluster of Assyrian Christian villages in Syria's Hassakeh province last month, taking at least 220 Christians hostage.

Thousands of Christians have trickled into Lebanon in recent years from Iraq and Syria after being forced by the Islamic State group to choose between leaving, facing death or paying a traditional non-Muslim tax. Around 240 more Assyrian Christians have fled to Lebanon since their villages were overrun last month.

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