Syrian Priest, 270 Christian and Muslim Hostages Kidnapped by Islamic Militants Are Reportedly Alive; May Be Released Soon

(PHOTO: REUTERS/RODI SAID) Displaced Assyrians, who fled from the villages around Tel Tamr, gather outside the Assyrian Church in al-Hasaka city, as they wait for news about the Assyrians abductees remaining in Islamic State hands, March 9, 2015. Islamic State released 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on March 1 after processing them through a sharia court, a monitoring group which tracks the conflict said. More than 200 Assyrians remain in Islamic State hands, said the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
(PHOTO: REUTERS/RODI SAID)
Displaced Assyrians, who fled from the villages around Tel Tamr, gather outside the Assyrian Church in al-Hasaka city, as they wait for news about the Assyrians abductees remaining in Islamic State hands, March 9, 2015. Islamic State released 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on March 1 after processing them through a sharia court, a monitoring group which tracks the conflict said. More than 200 Assyrians remain in Islamic State hands, said the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A Syrian priest, along with 270 Christian and Muslim hostages kidnapped by Islamic militants earlier this summer in an offensive on the city of Homs, are reportedly alive and hoping that they’ll be released after negotiations.

Fides News Agency said that Father Jacques Murad, who belongs to the monastic community of Deir Mar Musa, is still alive, according to local sources, but is being held hostage with groups of Christians and Muslims taken by jihadists in August. The hostages are reported to be “stable and secure,” and are waiting as local ecclesial communities are carrying out negotiations through mediators for their possible release.

“The sources contacted by Fides confirm that all the hostages are still in Quaryatayn, and specify that the news on the story of father Murad broadcast in recent days by Lebanese television network Nursat TV did not include any statement regarding the religious person kidnapped, but only reassuring considerations about his fate, expressed by another priest,” the report added.

Murad was captured in May by two armed men on motorbikes who arrived at the Mar Elian monastery, before forcing the priest into his car and taking him to an unknown destination.

The monastery has reportedly been hosting hundreds of refugees from the Syrian civil war, including over a hundred children younger than 10. Before he was captured, Murad had been helping provide basic necessities for the refugees.

It was not made clear which groups the jihadists belong to, though the country has been torn apart by clashes between government forces and various Islamic rebel groups seeking to take power.

 

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Stoyan Zaimov

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