Rome, Italy, Feb 26, 2015 / 07:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The number of ISIS hostages in Syria has increased to at least 250 after continued attacks on Christian villages, and civilians fleeing to the Turkish border have been stranded when not allowed to cross. “There are 200 families who were running away and trying to escape to Turkey, but the border is closed for Syrians. No Syrian can cross into Turkey,” Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo told CNA Feb. 26.
Archbishop Hindo oversees the Syrian archdiocese of Hassake, which is located in the Al-Hasakah region of Syria. The region sits between the country’s borders with both Turkey and Iraq.He spoke to CNA in French over the phone with a patchy connection from his diocese in Syria, where internet is currently down, saying that ISIS has continued its assault in the area, raising the number of hostages to more than 250 after an estimated 90 were kidnapped during attacks earlier this week. British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday that at least 90 Assyrian Christians were kidnapped by ISIS after militants seized two villages near Al-Hasakah’s city of Tal-Tamr.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Being uprooted and forced to lose everything that was considered normal in your life is something many of us can't even imagine. For Myriam, a young Iraqi Christian girl, and many like her, this is the reality. Myriam, her family and many other Iraqi Christians have been forced to reside in a half-built mall in Northern Iraq.
They have lost their school and they have lost their churches, but many still remain in good faith. "We used to have a house and were entertained, where as here we are not," stated Myriam, to SAT-7, an Arabic-language TV network. "But thank God. God provides for us. God loves us, and wouldn't let ISIS kill us." "I won't do anything to them," Myriam expressed when asked what she thought of ISIS. "I will only ask God to forgive them."
General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim reportedly carried out positive discussions with officials in Turkey, which could lead to a breakthrough to the six-month hostage crisis, as sources said that the case could end in days.
According to An Nahar newspaper, the Islamist abductors agreed to release the kidnapped servicemen on two or three batches after the cabinet expressed leniency towards the release of Islamist inmates from Lebanese prisons, adding that the jihadists demanded a ransom to kickstart the prisoners swap deal.
BEIRUT: Education Minister Elias Bou Saab stressed the need for science and technology cooperation with Iran during meetings Monday on the sideline of a ministerial conference in Tehran.
The state-run National News Agency said Bou Saab stressed the “importance of [Iranian] President [Hasan] Rouhani's proposal to establish a center for scientific and technological cooperation.”
It said Bou Saab’s remarks were made during meetings he held with ministers and officials among the participants of Non-Aligned Movement member states who took part in the conference, which got underway Monday.
Head of the parliamentary energy committee MP Mohammed Qabbani stressed that the delay in exploring Lebanon's offshore gas and oil exploration is due to technical obstacles and other unannounced interests as officials are at loggerheads over the demarcation of the 10 maritime oil exploration blocks.
“We have agreed to open the tenders for three blocks as a first step, but the main obstacles impeding the process remains the adoption of the petroleum decrees,” Qabbani said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper on Monday.
BEIRUT: Rifaat Eid, a leading member of the pro-Assad Arab Democratic Party was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment Monday for inciting clashes in the northern city of Tripoli, judicial sources said.
According to the source, Lebanon’s Military Court sentenced the fugitive to life in prison and hard labor after he was convicted of provoking strife between the Tripoli neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabanneh. The ADP’s politburo chief was also convicted of distributing arms and inciting murder.
What is the Islamic State? Where did it come from, and what are its intentions?
The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal.
“We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq.
The Council of Maronite bishops welcomed on Friday the dialogue among the country's different factions, hoping that it would lead to the election of a new president, and urged the Lebanese to back the state at this critical stage.
The bishops hoped in a statement following their monthly meeting in Bkirki that “talks among the Lebanese political parties would be aimed at electing a head of state.”
They said dialogue should take the country out of its crisis.