Syrian Refugee camp

A refugee camp inside Turkey for Syrians who have fled war zone;
photo courtesy of Caravan

ISIS Kidnaps Syrian Christians
| published February 24, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

ISIS may have gone into the business of regular kidnappings as a means of extortion and revenue, but it has also discovered that it can grab headlines and use those abductions as a tool for it social media and recruitment campaigns.

Human rights groups and several religious-based aid organizations say that Islamic State militants have swept through several villages and towns in northern Syria, kidnapping Christians and pursuing others who attempted to escape. According to the human rights group A Demand for Action, between 70 and 90 Assyrian Christians were abducted in multiple raids in the Hassakeh province early Monday morning.

Reports of the kidnappings have also come from some of the people who managed to escape the pre-dawn round-up. So hasty was their escape—and so terrified were they of getting caught by ISIS—some of those who fled the militants arrived in neighboring towns or villages with only what they could carry on their shoulders, and many arrived in bare feet.

Though it has not been confirmed by the government of Syria, human rights groups and aid workers say that the majority of those who were abducted lived in (or near) the small town of Tal Shamiram. The Neither the Pentagon nor the White House has offered immediate comment on this latest kidnapping spree by ISIS, but some military officials have said that confirmation of the abductions will come soon, possibly after intelligence analysts can verify the number and identity of those kidnapped.

ISIS frequently executes its victims for propaganda purposes, and it has shown little compunction or remorse for videotaping its grisly forms of murder and mayhem. Just weeks ago, ISIS militants operating inside eastern Libya beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians who had been kidnapped mostly from work sites along the Libyan-Egyptian border. Earlier in February, ISIS militants in Syria videotaped the burning alive of a Jordanian military pilot whose plane had crashed in an area controlled by ISIS. ISIS has also executed western journalists and American and British aid workers, as well as two Japanese men, one of whom was also a reporter.

Among those apparently kidnapped by ISIS in this latest raid were women and children of Assyrian Christian households. Though as of Tuesday ISIS had made no pronouncements of what it intended to do with this new set of hostages, most observers say that the Islamic State’s pattern of demands and threats are followed almost always by murder, usually by beheading. ISIS militants have videotaped the executions of American journalists and British aid workers, as well as the two Japanese men in January.

The executions earlier in January of the Egyptian Coptic Christians sparked outrage in Egypt, and prompted heavy air attacks by Egyptian fighter jets on specific ISIS strongholds across the border in Libya. The burning of the Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kassasbeh angered millions in Jordan, and spurred King Abdullah to increase his kingdom’s participation in the air campaign as well.

Meanwhile, thousands of Syrians are on the move this week, feeling the wrath of ISIS. At least 3000 have fled the villages near where the most recent abductions have taken place. Human rights groups and aid organizations say that hundreds of thousands of refugees now live in camps along the Turkish border with Syria and Iraq, and as many as 500,000 refugees from Syria now live inside Jordan. Jordan and Turkey have taken the brunt of the refugee burden. More than one million people have fled Syria since the start of that country’s violent civil war.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Obama, Congress & The Fight Against ISIS; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; February 23, 2015.

Italy Feels Pressure From ISIS; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; February 18, 2015.