Islamic State Muslim Militants Raid Churches Abducting At Least 230 Xtians in Homs, Syria
Islamic State militants have captured dozens of Christian families after seizing a strategically located town in the central Syrian province of Homs, a monitor said on Friday.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 230 people were kidnapped or detained, including dozens of Christians, some of whom were taken from a church in Qaryatain, the town captured overnight after heavy fighting with the Syrian army.
Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Observatory, said the Christians were “either kidnapped from checkpoints or raids or from churches.”
Among those seized were 45 women and 19 children, including 11 families, some of whom were on a militants’ wanted list, said the monitor that tracks the war’s violence through an extensive network of sources on the ground.
There were also hundreds of residents, Muslims and Christians, whose families have lost touch with them since the militants captured the area, according to Abdulrahman.
Qaryatain is near a road linking the ancient city of Palmyra to the Qalamoun mountains, along the border with Lebanon.
The hardline militant group has been gaining ground in the desert areas east and south of Homs after it took over the ancient Roman city of Palmyra last May.
The Syrian army has launched a large-scale counteroffensive to recapture the city, which lies in a region where some of Syria’s largest gas fields are located. But so far has made no significance advances.
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