Two of the 200-plus Assyrian hostages kidnapped by the Islamic State during an assault on Christian villages along Syria's Khabur River in February have provided insight into their abduction in recent interviews where one revealed that the ISIS militants tried to force the Christian hostages to convert to Islam, but the captives boldly refused.
On Feb. 23, the terrorist group raided approximately 35 different Christian villages in the Hasakah province and abducted somewhere between 263 to 373 men, women and children, according to the Assyrian International News Agency. But about a week after the raids, ISIS released a handful of hostages on March 1.
A released hostage going by the name of "Robert" told AINA that he was abducted from his village of Tel Goran, which is on the south bank of the Khabur River, along with 16 other men and four women. He recalls the militants storming into his village at around 5 a.m., knocking on all the doors and waking everybody up. more >>
The Islamic State terrorist organization has created a terrifying entrance to a city that is believed to eventually become its new Iraqi stronghold, as the group released photos on social media showing eight lifeless bodies dangling from a metal checkpoint structure at the entrance to the town of Hawija.
The photos were first reported by the Daily Mail on Saturday and show the deceased bodies of the eight individuals hanging upside-down from a pavilion-like structure at the roadway entrance to Hawija, as cars drive by underneath the hanging bodies.
Although the hanging bodies are wearing military fatigues in the photos, it's not certain as to whether or not those individuals are captured Iraqi or Kurdish soldiers. more >>
Even as reports suggest that the Islamic State is facing rising tensions between its foreign and local fighters amid growing attacks by local militias, Iraqi forces and pro-government militias in Iraq have re-gained control from the terror group in two key areas near the city of Tikrit.
"The key challenge facing ISIS right now is more internal than external," The Washington Post quotes Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, as saying. "We're seeing basically a failure of the central tenet of ISIS ideology, which is to unify people of different origins under the caliphate. This is not working on the ground. It is making them less effective in governing and less effective in military operations."
For example, local recruits of ISIS, a Sunni terror group also known as ISIL, are expressing anger over preferential treatment that the expatriates receive in Syria, according to the Post. The salaries and living conditions of the two cannot be compared although it's the local recruits who risk their lives in rural areas. more >>
Militants from Islamic State, or ISIS, attacked at least three more villages in northeasern Syria on Saturday, about a month after the Sunni terror group abducted hundreds of Assyrian Christians from the same area.
ISIS, which is also known as ISIL, began the attack Saturday evening, targeting at least three villages near the town of Tal Tamr along the Khabur River in Hassakeh province, according to The Associated Press.
U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, is "shaken" as six of his fellow prisoners were executed around him this week, his wife, Naghmeh, says.
"Saeed was quite shaken as he had to witness 6 fellow prisoners being beaten and taken to be executed (hanged) that day," Naghmeh was quoted as saying in a report by American Center for Law and Justice on Saturday.
"It was a hard and dark day having witnessed that and seeing life being taken. The prison visit was also very hard as the families of those who were executed were crying and wailing," she added. more >>
Terror group ISIS has been bulldozing and destroying the ancient biblical city of Nimrud, Iraqi officials have said. The U.N. and the international community at large have condemned the "war crime," which Iraq has said is aimed at erasing the country's history.
BBC News reported that on Thursday ISIS began the destruction of the ancient Assyrian site, founded in the 13th Century BC.
"In a new crime in their series of reckless offenses they assaulted the ancient city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy machinery, appropriating archaeological attractions dating back 13 centuries BC," the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO said. more >>