it is with thanksgiving and relief that Middle East Concern and Barnabas Fund have reported that the final group of 43 Syrian Christians, who were abducted from their villages in the Khabur river area of north-eastern Syria one year ago, were released on 22nd February by ISIL militants.
These 43 were the last remaining Christian hostages being held from the large group of 253 believers who were snatched from their homes a year ago.
It was in the early hours of 23 February 2015 that ISIL militants raided the Khabur river villages, torching churches, destroying houses, and capturing all men, women, and children who did not manage to flee.
Over the past twelve months, ISIL have gradually released the Christian hostages although, tragically, three men who were captured executed as their kidnappers spelt out exorbitant ransom demands. Before they were killed, each one of the men declared his loyalty to Jesus as he knelt on the ground.
The Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization (ACERO) said that, while Christians across Syria are celebrating the release of the 43 hostages, the community is also reflecting on the “tremendous losses, both human and material, suffered by the indigenous Assyrians of Syria. The destruction of their livelihoods in the historic Khabur villages is a loss for the Assyrian nation and for Syria as a whole.”
More Syrian Christians who have been kidnapped in other parts of the country are continuing to be held by ISIL militants.
- Give thanks for the release of these Christian hostages.
- Pray for them, as they come to terms with their freedom, whilst also not being able to return to their homes or jobs. Pray for resources and people who can help them process their experiences and find healing from the last 12 months of captivity.
- Pray for the provision of homes and jobs for these Christians, not an easy task in a country torn apart by war.
- Pray for protection on the Christians still being held hostage by ISIL. Pray that they too will soon be released, without harm.
- Pray for peace in Syria and restoration for this nation.
2 Chronicles 20 vs 6: “‘O Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In your hand are power and might, so that no one is able to withstand you.”
Source: http://www.meconcern.org, https://www.barnabasfund.org/news