By Danielle O’Connor
ISIS—Islamic State in Iraq and Syria—invaded villages early Monday morning in northeast Syria to kidnap Assyrian Christians.
According to activists inside Syria, 262 people were uprooted from their homes into the control of the rebel group. Most of the abductions occurred around the region of Tel Tamer—a town located in northwestern Syria.
“They are facing death, people are unarmed, they are peaceful. And they need help, they are just left alone—no one’s protecting them,” said Osama Edward, founder of the Assyrian Human Rights Network.
ISIS is believed to be releasing a message this week threatening to kill them. This message will be directed primarily to President Barack Obama, and will reach other important members of the United States.
Family members of the captives fear that they will be executed like the Assyrians that ISIS kidnapped and killed last month in Libya. Many have lost hope, considering ISIS’s reputation of killing its hostages.
Al- Raqqawi, an activist on Twitter, said that ISIS moved several hostages to Raqqa. Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold, is the location being used to hold and torture these Assyrian Christians.
“There is a big wall between the civilians and foreign fighters. It’s like two different lives inside the city of Raqqa,” Al- Raqqawi said. “Yes it’s heaven for some of these foreign fighters, because they give them a lot of money. They give them the fancy houses. They give them the fancy cars. ISIS takes their passports and if anyone tries defection from this, they will kill them immediately. The problem, is not how to go inside the city of Raqqa. The problem is how to get out.”
The Islamic State has yet to confirm the alleged kidnappings. However, ISIS supporters have posted photos of the fighters online. The pictures were taken in Tel Tamer of the men in camouflage firing guns.
Mardean Isaac, member of A Demand for Action (an activist group), demanded more airstrikes by the United States and other allies.
In a statement on Tuesday, United States’ spokeswoman Jen Psaki described ISIS’s targeting a religion as “brutal and inhumane.”
“Yesterday American bombers flew over the area several times, but without taking action,” said Jacques Behnan Hindo, Syrian-Catholic Archbishop of Hassakah-Nisibi.
“We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassakah, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN High Commission for Refugees is nowhere to be seen.”