According to reports from Syria, the Islamic State (IS) extremist group has abducted at least 200 Christians in Syria late last week.
Several sources from Syria reported that at least 200 Christians were taken hostage by the Islamic State (IS) in the city of al-Quaryatayn late last week. The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), however, reported in a press statement it received from the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Homs, that 250 Syrians were captured by IS and amongst them are women and children.
The city is located about 100 kilometres southwest of the ancient city of Palmyra that was captured by IS earlier this year. IS confirmed the takeover of al-Quaryatayn, which is populated by approximately 40 000 inhabitants, a mixed population of mainly Sunni Muslims and Christians.
More than 1 500 people have fled al-Quaryatayn since fighting began a week ago.
IS is also responsible for the kidnapping of more than 200 Syrian Christians from the Khabur River region in northeastern Syria earlier this year. The Christians were taken hostage from their villages when they were overrun by Islamic terrorists at the end of February. Most of the hostages are still missing.
Syria is ranked number four on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the 50 worst places to be a Christian. Approximately 4 million Syrians have left the country. Inside Syria there are 6.5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). It is estimated that 700 000 Christians have left Syria since the war began over four years ago. Open Doors continues to work with churches and local partners in Syria to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and trauma counselling.
Pray for those who have been abducted and for their relatives. Pray for the other Christians remaining in al-Quaryatayn. Also continue to pray for the Christians who were abducted in February.