The onslaught of ISIS in central Syria is threatening yet another Christian town, prompting human-rights activists to warn that hundreds of families could be in peril.
The city of Sadad has already seen significant action during the Syrian civil war, having been taken by the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in 2013, before being recaptured by government troops. Now Osama Edward, head of the Christian Assyrian Network for Human Rights in Syria, warns that it is in danger of falling to ISIS. Fearful of the atrocities perpetrated against Christian people and other religious minorities, such as the Yazidis, the 5,000 residents of Sadad have begun fleeing toward Syrian government strongholds in Homs and Damascus.
“People are living in fear in the area,” said Edward, as quoted by the Assyrian International News Agency.
The AINA also quotes the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying that the Islamic State continues to gain ground in central Syria, and has captured the villages of Moheen and Houreen from the Syrian army.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that ISIS militants overran the town of Qaryatain, taking some 230 residents captive, including dozens of Christians. Some of them were released and able to find refuge in nearby villages.
“The Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition, the main Western-backed opposition group, claimed that President Bashar Assad’s government facilitated the capture of the religiously mixed Qaryatain ‘in order to exploit the matter politically,'” the AP reported.