ISIS attack on Syrian village, hundreds held

Area with large Chaldean community, prisoner swap asked

24 February, 11:37

    ISIS militants in Syria ISIS militants in Syria

    (ANSAmed) - WASHINGTON - ISIS has stormed a village in the north-eastern hills of Syria, taking its residents hostage, Newsweek reports. The attack on the village near Tell Tamer, not far from Al-Hasakah, an area with a large community of Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs, was attacked on Monday morning, according to a local source who contacted a relative in Canada who then got in touch with A Demand For Action (ADFA), a group that protects the three minorities, the US magazine said.

    The whole area is reportedly under siege: ISIS militants first separated the men from women and children and took many in the mountains of Abd al-Aziz. Women and children remained in the village, which is guarded by ISIS militants, according to the source quoted by Newsweek.

    It is still unclear how many men have been taken hostage, though this initial report appears to indicate that over 100 are being detained and ISIS means to use them in a prisoner exchange with ISIS fighters currently held by Kurdish militia. They have reportedly threatened to kill the villagers if the exchange fails.

    The founder of ADFA, Nuri Kino, told Newsweek that he has spoken with several relatives of those held hostage by ISIS.

    ''Many of them have relatives in Sweden and Germany'', he told the magazine, adding that he tried to contact villagers by phone only to have ISIS members pick up.

    It is still difficult to ascertain the situation on the ground as it is unclear how many militants were involved in the raid, which was described as ''huge'' and in a climate of total ''panic'' by the source quoted by Newsweek.

    Meanwhile Syrian news agency Sana reported that jihadists have stormed several villages in Syria, including Tal Hermez, Tal Shamiram, Tal Riman, Tal Nasra, al-Agibash, Toma Yalda and al-Haooz, in the eastern part of the country, killing dozens.

    The attacks were carried out aboard heavy vehicles and militants burned one of the most ancient churches in Syria, in Tal Hermez, according to the news agency, which quoted local sources.

    The objective of ISIS, according to the news agency, is to reach the border with Turkey in order to make the crossing of weapons and fighters easier. During the attacks, according to the Syrian news agency, coalition forces flew over the area targeted by jihadists without intervening.(ANSAmed).

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