Terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has started to kill hostages it seized after it took control of Assyrian Christian villages in Syria's Hassake governorate -- with reports that around 15 of them are dead -- the Independent Catholic News website reports today (March 2, 2015).
In a message sent to Catholic agencies working in the region -- including Aid to the Church in Need -- Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana passed on news of the executions from a contact in Hassake city, and said the number still being held exceeds 350.
Archimandrite Youkhana -- who supports persecuted Christians in the Middle East -- said: "Around 15 young Assyrians are martyred. Many of them were fighting to defend and protect the villages and families."
From the village of Tel Hormizd 14 people were taken -- 12 men and two women -- who were fighting to defend their homes. Reports indicate that of the Tel Hormizd fighters, one woman has been beheaded and two men have been shot.