The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that 29 Assyrian Christians recently captured by Islamic State forces in Northern Syria will be released. The information came to the monitoring group via an Assyrian Christian commander.
The 29 prisoners are just a fraction of the more than 220 Assyrian Christians thought to be held by the terrorists.
There has been no confirmation of the intended release from any other source. If true, it would mark the first time that the terrorists released non-Muslim prisoners.
The Syrian Observatory said a self-proclaimed ISIS court ordered the release, and told the commander that the fate of the other kidnapped Assyrians has yet to be decided by ISIS Sharia jurists.
ISIS captured at least 220 Assyrians, all Christians, on February 23 during an attack on the villages around the town of Tal Tamer in the northern Syrian province of al-Hasakah.
The Syrian Observatory said its information indicates ISIS has taken the hostages to the Mount Abdelaziz area, southwest of Tal Tamer.
The founder of the Assyrian Human Rights Network, Osama Edward, puts the number of Assyrian hostages at more than 262. Edward is based in Sweden but has family in the area that was attacked, and says his information is from the network’s team on the ground.
The number of hostages has climbed steadily, from an initial estimate of between 70 and 100 people seized on Monday to 150 as of Wednesday, with women, children and the elderly among them.
The number of people executed by the terrorist group has also climbed steadily.
Since the declaration of its “caliphate” last June, ISIS has killed 1,969 people, the Syrian Observatory said Saturday. Nearly two-thirds of them — 1,238 people — were civilians.
Six were children and eight were women, the group said.
Of the rest, 95 were fighters from the al Qaeda-affiliated rebel group al-Nusra Front, the Syrian Observatory said, and 511 were officers and soldiers of regime forces.
ISIS also executed 125 of its own members for “exceeding the limits in religion,” the Syrian Observatory said.
Is ISIS getting soft as it ages? Not hardly. Fanatical groups like Islamic State run on their own internal logic and why they would release Christian prisoners cannot be fathomed. Perhaps they were given the chance to convert to Islam. Maybe they’re just playing with the loved ones of the prisoners and will refuse to release them after all.
You can be sure that regret, sympathy, empathy, or a troubled conscience are not the reasons they would release anyone. Those are the emotions of civilized men — a group to which Islamic State cannot lay claim.