The Syriac Orthodox Church has published names of the 21 Christians it said were killed by the ‘Islamic State’ during its 8 month occupation of the Syrian town of al-Qaryatain. IS had captured the town (92 km southeast of Homs) in August 2015, before it was recaptured by the Syrian army early this month.
Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) listed the names and ages of the 21 Assyrian Christians, quoting the official Facebook page of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Those killed range in ages between 25 and 73, and are thought to be closely related, judging by their surnames.
During a visit to Qaryatain on April 8, the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II said some died while trying to escape, while others were killed for breaking the terms of their “dhimmi contracts”, which required them to submit to the rule of Islam.
Three women were among those killed, the BBC quoted Aphrem as saying. The recent list of 21 does not, however, seem to mention women among the victims.
Hundreds of Christians were taken captive when Qaryatain fell to IS. After pledging to submit to their captors’ demands of subservience to Muslim rule, many Qaryatain Christians were later ‘released’.
However, the jihadists are thought to still be holding 179 Christians taken from this one Syrian town alone. Some reports indicate that they have been moved to Raqqa, Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria.