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IS releases 16 Assyrian Christian hostages in Syria

Church groups seek return of remaining captives, kidnapped last February

Published: February 02, 2016 04:15 AM GMT

Updated: February 02, 2016 04:17 AM GMT

IS releases 16 Assyrian Christian hostages in Syria

The Islamic State militant group has released 16 more Assyrian Christian hostages in Syria, activists working in the region have confirmed, reported Christian Today.

The Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization said on Jan. 29 that the 16 were released after being held in northeastern Syria since February 2015. Photos posted on Facebook show that at least nine of the freed are children.

The hostages were among more than 200 people abducted from villages along the Khabur River in northern Syria last Feb. 23.

The group that calls themselves the Islamic State undertook raids on a number of Assyrian villages near Tel Hmar, burning churches and forcing hundreds of families to flee.

IS has now released more than 160 captives in total, and A Demand for Action, a campaign group for minorities in the Middle East, previously told Christian Today that the church is working "day and night to make sure all are returned to their families safely."

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