Christians held hostage
· IS attacks Chaldean town in Syria ·
One of the oldest churches in the country set aflame
Numerous towns in eastern Syria where many Chaldean Christians live have been captured by the militants of the so-called Islamic State (IS), killing a dozen people and, in Tal Hermez, burning one of the oldest Catholic churches in the country. According to Newsweek magazine, hundreds of men, women and children were taken hostage by jihadists, who are demanding a hostage exchange. Women and children were rounded up in an area of the town controlled by militants, while the men were moved to the mountains of Abd Al Aziz. The official Syrian press agency SANA reported that the in addition to the attacks in Tal Hermez, the towns of Tal Shamiram, Tal Riman, Tal Nasra, Al Agibash, Toma Yalda and Al Haooz were also attacked. According to local sources cited by SANA, by burning these villages, IS is trying to open a passage way to the Turkish border and facilitate the movement of arms and militants. Yesterday air raids by the international coalition led by the United States focused on eastern Syria and several fronts in Iraq. According to the American command, the IS stronghold in Kobane has been attacked 11 times. Following four months of fighting, on 26 January, in the area of Kobane, which borders Turkey, the Kurdish peshmerga had pushed back the jihadist group.
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