Islamic State issued a statement on Monday, February 22 announcing the release of the remaining 43 Christians who had been taken hostage about a year ago from villages along the Khabour River in northeast Syria. The released Assyrian Christians were among a group of 230 abducted by IS during raids on 35 predominantly Assyrian villages in that region. All of those abducted in the raids have now been accounted for. Almost all have been released, many in recent months following negotiations by church representatives. A video released by Daesh in early October 2015 showed the execution of three Assyrian Christians, two of whom were from this group.
The Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization released a statement thanking all who have stood with the Assyrians of Syria during the arduous twelve months of this ordeal. While rejoicing over the release of these hostages, they note the ongoing impact of the devastating losses suffered by the Assyrian communities of Syria, including the destruction of livelihoods.
Please continue to pray for Christians from other places in Syria who were abducted during other incidents throughout the country. Pray that they too will soon be released and that, until that moment, they will put their trust in God. Pray that the Lord brings comfort to them in the places where they are being held captive. Pray also for restoration in the lives of all the Christians who have just been released.
Father, week after week, we bring before You those who are suffering around the world from the impact of Islamic State militants. We plea for their comfort and strength and safety, committing them to Your faithful care. So, it is with great rejoicing today that we give thanks for the release of these 43 men and women who have been returned to their loved ones. We pray for their restoration, body and soul, from this trauma. Strengthen their faith, Lord, as they look back over this past year and see Your hand of comfort and provision; that they might have courage to meet the challenges of each new day and to share their testimony of Your faithfulness and power. We pray for their Muslim neighbors who also suffer the ravages of the Islamic State that many might turn from the darkness of Islam into the light of Christ. And, we continue to pray for the release of others who have been abducted. In the Name of Jesus, who sets the prisoners free from the ravages of the true enemy, Satan, Amen.
Source: Middle East Concern