Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (26 February) on the abduction of over 200 Assyrian Christians by ISIS terrorists:
I am extremely concerned by the news that hundreds of Assyrian Christians have been abducted by the terrorist group ISIS. At the very least they must be treated in a manner in line with the rules of humane treatment. We must do all we can to ensure that they are liberated soon.
The terrorist group has once again shown its barbaric and inhumane face by ruthlessly attacking Assyrian villages inhabited by defenceless civilians, abducting such a large number of people including women and children, and destroying and desecrating religious sites.
According to information from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and consistent media reports, on Monday (23 February) numerous villages in the province of Hassakeh in north-eastern Syria were attacked and at least 200 Assyrian Christians were abducted.
The villages, situated along the Khabur river between the province’s capital Hassakeh and Ras al‑Ain, a town by the Syrian-Turkish border, had previously been under Kurdish control. For months there has been heavy fighting over the region, which is on the frontline between Kurdish areas on one side and ISIS-controlled zones on the other. In recent days the battles have further intensified. It is as yet unclear where the abducted people have been taken.