Thank God for the release of 16 Syrian Christians who were held hostage by self-proclaimed Islamic State since February 2015. It is reported the release of another group of 16 Syrian Christians who were held hostage by self-proclaimed Islamic State some ten months ago.
The release of these Assyrian Christians was confirmed by Assyrian sources today. These Christians were among more than 230 abducted in late February 2015 when IS captured around 35 predominantly Assyrian villages along the Khabour River in Hassaka Governorate. Their liberation, together with the recent release of others (50 in December and 47 in November), follows negotiations over many months by church representatives.
A spokesperson for the Assyrian Church of the East noted that 66 of this group remain in Daesh captivity, stressing that efforts to secure their release remain ongoing. In addition, many Christians are understood to be among more than 200 civilians abducted by IS in August 2015 in al-Qaryatain in Homs Governorate, many of whom remain unaccounted for.
Syrian Christians encourage us to rejoice that more have been released. They request continued prayer that:
· those who have recently been released will know the Lord’s comfort, healing and restoration.
· all who remain abducted will similarly know the Lord’s comfort and sustaining, and that they will be released soon.
· those engaged in on-going negotiations will know the Lord’s strengthening, discernment and provision.
· those displaced will know the Lord’s care and provision, and be able to return to their homes soon.
· violence will cease, peace will be restored and the clear rule of law will be applied equally for all in Syria.
· those responsible for the murder and abduction of innocent civilians will know the Spirit’s conviction of sin, seek the Father’s forgiveness and find new life in the Son.