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Current Page: World | Friday, November 13, 2015
ISIS Forces Attack Christians Who Speak Aramaic, Language of Jesus Christ

ISIS Forces Attack Christians Who Speak Aramaic, Language of Jesus Christ

Displaced Assyrians, who fled from the villages around Tel Tamr, sit outside the Assyrian Church in al-Hasaka city, as they wait for news about the Assyrians abductees remaining in Islamic State hands March 9, 2015. Islamic State released 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on March 1 after processing them through a sharia court, a monitoring group which tracks the conflict said. More than 200 Assyrians remain in Islamic State hands, said the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. | (Photo: Reuters/Rodi Said)
A woman pushes a baby stroller as she rushes away after what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on a busy marketplace in Douma, near Damascus, Syria, August 12, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Bassam Khabieh)
A fighter of the Kurdish People's Protection Units fires an anti-aircraft weapon from Tel Tawil village in the direction of Islamic State fighters positioned in the countryside of the town of Tel Tamr, February 25, 2015. Kurdish militia pressed an offensive against Islamic State in northeast Syria on Wednesday, cutting one of its supply lines from Iraq, as fears mounted for dozens of Christians abducted by the hardline group. The Assyrian Christians were taken from villages near the town of Tel Tamr, some 20 km (12 miles) to the northwest of the city of Hasaka. There has been no word on their fate. There have been conflicting reports on where the Christians had been taken. | (Photo: Reuters/Rodi Said)
A general view shows a church in the Assyrian village of Abu Tina, which was recently captured by Islamic State fighters, February 25, 2015. Kurdish militia pressed an offensive against Islamic State in northeast Syria on Wednesday, cutting one of its supply lines from Iraq, as fears mounted for dozens of Christians abducted by the hardline group. The Assyrian Christians were taken from villages near the town of Tel Tamr, some 20 km (12 miles) to the northwest of the city of Hasaka. There has been no word on their fate. There have been conflicting reports on where the Christians had been taken. | (Photo: Reuters/Rodi Said)
A rainbow is seen as residents inspect a site damage from what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on the main field hospital in the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, October 29, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Bassam Khabieh)

The Islamic State continues its march into Syria with its sights set on the town of Sadad, which consists of a large population of Syriac Christians who speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

According to Newsweek,500 Christian fighters, with the help of some Muslims, have so far prevented IS radicals from overrunning the majority Christian town. IS has already captured the town of Mahin, only 5 miles away from Sadad, which has provided the terror group a base of operations for renewed attacks against Sadad.

The head of the Syriac Orthodox Christian Church, Mor Ignatius Aphrem Karim II, who is headquartered in Damascus, visited the region to boost the morale of Christian fighters who are trying to stave-off the further advancement of IS. According to Karim, the Christian population has dwindled from 15,000 to 2,000 due to families fleeing ahead of the advancement of the extremist group.

"IS advanced toward Sadad but they were not able to enter Sadad," declared Karim. The young people in Sadad, with the help of some armed groups, were able to fight back and push IS back to where they started. They are helped by some groups coming from different parts of Syria also.

"It was emotional but it was also very encouraging to see our young people determined to defend their land and stay in their homeland," Karim declared during the visit. "To see them ready to fight and to sacrifice for their land, I think that's what's very meaningful, that made me very proud of them."

Sadad previously fell to IS in 2013, but was recaptured by the Syrian Arab Army. During that attack it is believed that at least 45 Syriac Christians, including women and children, were massacred by the jihadists who, at the time, were receiving support from Obama administration.

Mass looting and destruction of Christian property, churches and ancient texts by IS militants were also prevalent, with many homes completely burned to the ground.

The Syrian Orthodox archbishop of Homs, Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, told Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need that the cradle of their church is in a precarious state.

"We are afraid that ISIS, which God will hopefully prevent, will conquer the town. We would lose the centre of Christianity in our diocese," Archbishop Selwanos declared.

Sadad is an important town for IS, not only because the terror group has vowed to kill Christians in the region, but the town is an important traffic corridor, possibly giving the militants greater access to the flow of oil.

Several media outlets reported this week that the IS had released a group of 37 Assyrian Christians who were captured several months ago. Many of the freed captives were reportedly women, and described as elderly.

Father Luka Awad, assistant to the archbishop of Homs, offered a plea to the international community last week.

"The people there still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Moreover, we have important churches there. It is really a center of our Christian heritage. Its loss doesn't bear contemplating. We truly are fearing for our cultural heritage."

"We beg the international community to put an end to this war," he added. "My people already experienced a genocide one hundred years ago, in 1915. Now, in the 21st century, we don't need another."

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