A general view shows a church in the Assyrian village of Abu Tina, which was recently captured by ISIS fighters, February 25, 2015. REUTERS/Rodi Said
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ISIS have abducted 220 Assyrian Christians in northeastern Syria in recent days, an activist group said Thursday, as international concern grows for the minority group.The Observatory said 14 Kurdish fighters and three members of an Assyrian defense organization had been killed in three days of fighting for the villages.The jihadis, who are battling Kurdish fighters on the ground, may try to exchange the Assyrians for ISIS prisoners, he said.The kidnappings and assault by ISIS on several Assyrian villages in Hassakeh prompted thousands of members of the community to flee. Before Syria's civil war erupted in 2011, there were 30,000 Assyrians in the country, among an estimated Christian population of about 1.2 million.The Assyrians, from one of the world's oldest Christian communities, have faced an increasing threat since ISIS captured large parts of Syria.
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