Christian officials said on Monday, the Islamic State group released the remainder of the 230 Assyrian Christians which were kidnapped in Syria about a year ago after receiving millions of dollars in ransom.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Younan Talia of the Assyrian Democratic Organization said that the 40 remaining Christian captives were released early Monday and are headed to the northeastern town of Tal Tamr.
Last February, Islamic State captured the Assyrians who are members on an ancient Christian sect. Kidnapping for ransom is one of the main sources of income for extremists. Last November, Islamic State claimed it killed a Norwegian and Chinese captive after demanding ransom two months earlier.
Talia mentioned that IS demanded $18 million for the Assyrian Christians, and the figured was later decreased after negotiations. He was unsure of the final amount agreed upon. He also said the release came after meditation led by a top Assyrian prie
Younan said the release came after mediation led by a top Assyrian priest in northern Syria.
According to OneNewsNow, a Syrian Christian figure said that the Assyrian community worldwide launched a campaign to release the captives after they were abducted. A bank account was opened in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil and donations came in worldwide.
The man says that they paid millions of dollars, but certainly not $18 million. The man, who has requested anonymity due to not being able to discuss the amount, says that they paid less than half. He also added that the fate of the five missing Assyrians during the abductions is still unknown.
IS attacked several villages along Khabur River which sent thousands fleeing to safer areas, and the Assyrians were captured over a period of three days. During the next two days, IS picked up dozens more from 11 more communities close to Tal Tamr.
The Hassakeh province located near Turkey and Iraq, has been the latest battleground in the fight against IS group in Syria.
The predominantly Kurdish Syria Democratic Forces captured the IS stronghold of Shaddedeh on Friday where some of the abducted people were thought to be held.
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