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Image: Ahmed Deeb/AFP/Getty Images

Kurds clash with 'IS'

February 25, 2015

Kurdish and Christian fighters are battling militants from "Islamic State" in northeastern Syria. The whereabouts of at least 90 Christians kidnapped on Monday remain unknown.


The Hassakeh province in northeastern Syria was the scene of intense fighting on Wednesday between Kurdish and Christian militiamen and insurgents from the extremist group "Islamic State" (IS).

The fighters had succeeded in cutting off an IS supply line from Iraq, according to the Reuters news agency.

The province borders Turkey and Iraq and is home to Assyrian Christians, at least 90 of whom were kidnapped by IS on Monday. The whereabouts of the kidnap victims, among them many women and children, remain unknown. Several hundred Christians have fled their homes in the province and made for its two largest cities as a result of the kidnappings from several villages.

Many Kurds and some Armenians also live in Hassakeh, where the Assyrian Christians represent a minority community.

IS has killed minorities in Syria and Iraq who do not claim allegiance to its self-proclaimed "caliphate," most recently beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.

According to the AFP news agency, a prominent bishop on Wednesday accused Turkey of deliberately denying entry to Christians fleeing IS.

"In the north, Turkey allows through lorries, Daesh (IS) fighters, oil stolen from Syria, wheat and cotton: all of these can cross the border but nobody (from the Christian community) can pass over," Jacques Behnan Hindo was quoted as saying on Vatican radio by AFP. He is the Syrian Catholic archbishop of Hasakeh-Nisibi.

mz/kms (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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