Koliana said the families face uncertainty in the war-torn country, which is caught in a conflict between the central government, various rebel groups, and IS. The latter has conquered significant territory in Syria and Iraq, and has heavily targeted religious minorities, including Christians.
The bishop said that displaced Assyrians have a desire to return to their communities, but that will depend on “strong countries that in one way or another affect the Syrian crisis.”
“We very much hope that countries such as Russia and the United States will hear our call for help from their Christian brothers in the Middle East,” he said.
On Thursday, IS captured the town of al-Qaryatain in the Homs district of western Syria, taking several Christian families hostage. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that at least 230 people have been captured, among whom are both Christians and Muslims.
Diana Yaqco, a spokesperson for A Demand for Action, said in an interview with MailOnline that the captured Christians and other minorities might be facing the same grim fate that has fallen upon other IS prisoners.
“The main concern is sexual slavery, mass executions and beheadings,” Yaqco said.
The Archdiocese of Homs, Hama and Environs said in a statement that 200 Christian families were released by IS, but close to 100 families remain captive.
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