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REX/Xinhua News Agency
World News

Concern increases for captured Syrian Christians

by Antony Bushfield

The believers were captured from the central town of Qaryatain, when IS militants seized the area.

Their whereabouts or wellbeing is still unknown and there has been no demands from the jihadists.

Around 230 residents were taken in total, all accused of working with the Syrian regime.

It's thought the majority were Sunni Muslim.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syria-based activist Bebars al-Talawy said they have no information where the militants took the residents after overrunning the heavily populated town.

Neil Sammonds, from Amnesty International, told Premier there was great concern for their safety.

He said: "There are quite significant fears for the fate of those, many of whom are suspected or accused of some form of collaboration, and Islamic State interprets collaboration in a very wide manner.

"It's quite possible they will be held for some kind of ransom demand, extremely high, like in the millions.

"Whether it's possible they'll killed, obviously that's a fear."

In February, IS kidnapped more than 220 Assyrian Christians after overrunning several farming communities on the southern bank of the Khabur River in the north-eastern province of Hassakeh.

Since then, only a few have been released and the fate of the others remains unknown.

Listen to Premier's Antony Bushfield speaking to Neil Sammonds here: 

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