Members of the Assyrian Christian community in northeastern Syria say as many as 200 people might have been seized in raids on a string of villages near Tal Tamr, in Hassakeh province. The captives include women, children, priests, and the elderly. Hundreds of other civilians remain trapped in villages surrounded by ISIL fighters, and clashes continue between ISIL and local forces defending their communities.
ISIL burned and destroyed homes and churches, and the violence has reportedly displaced more than 3,000 people. The United States demands the immediate and unconditional release of the civilians taken captive and of all those held by ISIL.
ISIL's latest targeting of Christians is only further testament to its brutal and inhumane treatment of all those who disagreewith its beliefs.
ISIL's latest targeting of Christians is only further testament to its brutal and inhumane treatment of all those who disagree with its beliefs. ISIL continues to exact its evil on innocents of all faiths, and the majority of its victims have been Muslims.
People of all faiths and many religious leaders throughout the region have united in condemning ISIL's barbarism, including its mass killings, rape, sexual enslavement, lashing, stoning, crucifixion, torture, and public murders of hostages. ISIL has forced Christians living in its territory to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy, or face death
Sadly, the Syrian people are threatened not only by ISIL's brutality, but also by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's unrelenting campaign of terror. The regime has recently intensified its airstrikes and barrel bombing of Aleppo and continues to besiege the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta and Douma, cutting off humanitarian aid from those in need.
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry reaffirmed the deteriorating situation noting in its latest report that the Syrian people continue to suffer from the Assad regime's airstrikes, barrel bombings, arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence, and murder. Like ISIL, the Assad regime is showing its complete disregard for human life through these crimes.
In an effort to bring an end to these horrors, the United States remains committed to leading the international coalition to defeat ISIL and to work towards a negotiated political solution that stops the bloodshed and secures a future of freedom, justice, and dignity for all Syrians.