Syrian Christians rejoice that several more Christian hostages have been released by Islamic State (IS) this month, but request prayer for the many who remain in captivity.
On 24 November ten Assyrian Christians were released by IS (five women and five men). This follows the release on 9 November of 37 Christians. All those released were among more than 230 Christians abducted in late February 2015, when IS captured around 35 predominantly Assyrian villages along the Khabour River in Hassaka Governorate in north-east Syria. Their release follows negotiations over many months by church representatives.
There is some lack of clarity about how many of those abducted in February remain unaccounted for — a leader within the Assyrian Church of the East has advised that the figure is around 135, while the Assyrian Human Rights Network claims that 158 are still missing. In addition, many Christians are understood to be among more than 200 civilians who were abducted by IS in al-Qaryatain in Homs Governorate in early August, many of whom remain unaccounted for.
Syrian Christians continue to request prayer for peace in their land and for all affected by the ongoing violence, including Christian communities. In recent weeks many have fled from the predominantly Syriac Orthodox town of Sadad in Homs Governorate, fearing an IS advance. In October 2013 Sadad was briefly overrun by militants from the al-Qaeda affiliate group Jabhat an-Nusra, who murdered at least 45 Christians and desecrated churches.
Source: Middle East Concern
- Pray those who have recently been released will know the Lord’s comfort, healing and provision.
- Pray those who remain in captivity will find refuge in God, know His strength and protection, maintain a faithful witness to Christ and be released soon.
- Pray those responsible for the murder and abduction of innocent civilians will know the Spirit’s conviction of sin, seek the Father’s forgiveness and find new life in Christ.