ISIL is continuing its assault on innocent civilians with its latest kidnappings in the central Syrian province of Homs, where the terrorist group abducted an estimated 230 people, including some Christians. ISIL's attacks have also resulted in the displacement of an estimated 2,000 people from nearby villages.
According to the State Department’s 2014 Human Rights Report, some communities under rule by ISIL experienced specialized religious taxes , or jizya, forced religious conversions, destruction of religious sites, and expulsion of minority communities.Christians make up about 10 percent of Syria’s population of more than 17 million people.
In February, ISIL attacked predominantly Assyrian Christian villages in the northeast Syrian province of Hasakeh, where they kidnapped dozens of civilians, including women, children, priests, and the elderly. ISIL also burned and destroyed homes and churches. Those attacks displaced an estimated 3,000 people.
The fact that ISIL deliberately targets civilians further testifies to its rampant criminality and brutality against all those who disagree with its toxic beliefs. ISIL continues to exact its evil upon innocents of all faiths, and the majority of its victims have been Muslim.
People of all faiths and many religious leaders throughout the region have united in condemning ISIL's depravity, its mass killings, rape, sexual enslavement, lashing, stoning, crucifixion, and public murders of hostages.
The violence in Syria has killed more than 250,000 people.
The United States demands an immediate and unconditional release of all civilians taken captive by ISIL. To help bring an end these horrors, the United States remains committed to leading the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.