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90 Christians kidnapped by IS in Syria

The extremists were retreating from Tal Tamr in the face of a counter offensive by Kurdish forces when they abducted the group of believers.

A monitoring organisation claims to have evidence the IS fighters referred to the captives as 'crusaders'.

It comes just days after a video was posted online alleging to show jihadists beheading 21 Coptic Christians who were kidnapped in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 90 people had been taken in this latest attack.

Islamic State has forced tens of thousands of Christians to flee their homes as it takes control of large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Syrian Anglican priest Revd Nadim Nassar told Premier not enough is being done to defeat IS: "I blame, I underline blame, the Western countries in keeping silent about the funding and the arms flowing to IS and they're not doing anything about it.

"IS wants to move the western world and send messages to the western world because they think Christians in the Middle East are western agents.

"So we are extensions of western Christianity.

"Christianity is vanishing in the Middle East anyway and of course such atrocities and such brutality in dealing with minorities will scare the rest of the Christians in the Middle East."

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: "This kidnapping is the latest appalling assault on these ancient Assyrian villages.

"Daesh [IS] was already inflicting terror and suffering in the region through systematic use of religious taxation, destroying Churches and capturing and killing anyone who does not share their beliefs.

"Syria is the cradle of world Christianity, which far from being a Western or alien religion, was birthed and is rooted in the Middle East.

"It is both tragic and an irony that members of this ancient, indigenous community continue to suffer at the hands of a mercenary army.

"Our prayers are with the family and friends of those who have been abducted and we would point the international community to this latest act of aggression as evidence of the need to provide protection for Syria's Christians against an onslaught that seeks to erase the country's diverse heritage."

Listen to Premier's Antony Bushfield's interview with Revd Nadim Nassar:

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