In the early hours of Monday, February 23, Islamic State fighters attacked several Christian villages along the Khabur River in north eastern Syria. Four Christians enrolled in the Assyrian militia were killed and one young civilian child. One Christian woman was raped by the Islamic invaders before being slaughtered. As many as 200 Christians—including women and children—were taken hostage [more recent reports put the number at 350-400]. Their families fear that they will either be sold as slaves and/or raped, or simply massacred, as many other Christian hostages of the Islamic State have been—most recently the 21 Coptic martyrs in Libya.
Several churches were also torched or damaged during the jihadi raid, including the church in Tel Hurmiz, one of the oldest churches in Syria, the Mar Bisho church in Tel Shamiran, the church in Qabr Shamiy and the church in Tel Baloua.
And, perhaps worst of all, this raid “brought to light deplorable conduct on the part of other persons,” namely the West. According to Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo:
I wish to say quite clearly that we have the feeling of being abandoned into the hands of Daesh [Arabic acronym for ISIS]. Yesterday American bombers flew over the area several times, but without taking action. We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassakè, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN high commission for Refugees is nowhere to be seen.
In a separate interview, the Syrian archbishop added:
With their disastrous policies mainly the French and the US, with their regional allies, have favored in fact the Daesh escalation. Now they persevere in error, commit strategic, grotesque mistakes … instead of recognizing that their guaranteed support to jihadist groups has led us to this chaos and has destroyed Syria, making us regress 200 years.