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Some of the 43 hostages released
after their year-long captivity.

Islamic militants released a group of 43 Assyrian Christians on February 23rd, after holding the men, women and children hostage for a year. Those released, many of whom are under 10 years of age, are now reunited with their families. Although there are still hostages in the southwestern region of Syria, this final release of the Hasakah province hostages is an immense blessing to the Assyrian Christians who have been tormented by their loved ones' kidnappings.

In February of 2015, ISIS overran dozens of villages along the Khabur River, taking 253 Christians hostage and demanding ransom payments in exchange for their release. Thankfully, the Islamic State-affiliated group in Hasakah has been working through negotiations with the Assyrian Church of the East to secure the hostage release.

Another large group of Assyrian Christians from Qaryatain was abducted last August, and while some have been released, 179 are still in captivity. During the fall of last year, ISIS militants released a video showing the execution of three Assyrian Christian men, while making high ransom demands for the release of the remaining hostages. Previous reports on the critical situation in Syria are available here.

In addition to praising God for His intervention on behalf of the newly released hostages, we can also rejoice with the many families that have been joyfully reunited after their year-long separation. May they receive the Lord's healing and restoration after such a lengthy ordeal. Please continue to pray for all the hostages remaining in captivity, that they will also be protected, strengthened and eventually freed from the control of their captors. Let's also remember the numerous Syrians who have been displaced due to last year's ISIS attacks on their villages. May they receive His clear direction and miraculous provision for their every need.

Country Information

Population
20,384,316 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Arab (50), Alawite (15) Kurd (10), Levantine (10) other (15)

Religion (%)
Islam (87), Christianity (10), Druze (3)

Leader
President Bashar al-Asad (2000)

Government type
Presidential republic; highly authoritarian regime

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law (for family courts)

Ssource: CIA World Factbook.

Pray for Syria

Pray that the Lord of hosts will intervene in Syria to "preserve all who love Him" and "frustrate the way of the wicked" (Psalm 145:20; Psalm 146:9). Ask that the Spirit of God will subvert the rebellion of the militant groups so the "will for peace" shall indeed prevail over "the will for war." May the Lord provide for Syria's churches, ensuring that they are adequately equipped with the necessary ministry tools, resources and workers to continue faithfully serving and ministering as lights in the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16).

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