Christians in Syria Seized by Islamic State

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham pictured in 2013 in Damascus, Syria.

On Feb. 26, the Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham said, “It is shocking that the whole world” has not responded in a proper way to the ongoing crisis in Syria. He called for international unity against the Islamic State to protect Assyrian Christian villages in northeast Syria. As many as 400 Christians may have been seized during attacks by Islamic State extremists. “It is time for the international community to work very closely with Syria and also with Iraq, who are really the real victims of these takfiri and jihadist groups,” Patriarch Laham said. In a statement on Feb. 25, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch condemned the killings and terrorist acts that targeted the Christians of the Khabur region. He called upon the international community to work for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all kidnapped and detained people.

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