Hundreds of Assyrian Christians have staged a rally in Lebanon to censure the recent abduction of over 200 members of the community by ISIL militants in northeastern Syria.
The Christians took to the streets in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, waving their community’s flags and carrying signs that read, “Assyrians are the indigenous people of Mesopotamia,” “We demand action from the United Nations,” and “Save the Christians in the Middle East.”
The marchers called for urgent aid and a safe haven for the minority group in Syria and neighboring Iraq.
They also urged the international community to take action against “genocide and ethnic cleansing” by the ISIL Takfiris.
Meanwhile, Lebanese Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk has said Assyrian Christians fleeing ISIL violence are welcome to take refuge in Lebanon, noting that their “severe humanitarian case” is exceptional and not bound to the recent policy to stop allowing refugees in.
He added that around 5,000 Assyrians are expected to arrive in Lebanon.
According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIL militants have kidnapped at least 220 Assyrian civilians in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasaka over the past three days.
The Assyrians were abducted from 11 villages near Tel Tamer, a town located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) to the northwest of the provincial capital, Hasaka. The hostages have been taken to Abd al-Aziz mount, which lies southwest of Tel Tamer.
Over the past months, Assyrians, who come from one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, have been under increasing threat from the ISIL terrorists.
The ISIL militants, with members from several Western countries, control some parts of Syria and Iraq, and have been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all ethnic and religious communities.
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