Dec 10, 2015: (Voice of the Persecuted) Three car bombs exploded in the Assyrian town of Tel Tamar in the Hassaka province of Syria on Thursday. The blast killed 50-60 people and wounded 100. At least 4 Assyrians were killed. According to the AINA, the attacks were in heavily populated areas, including a marketplace and near a hospital, leading to the massive civilian toll. ISIS has since confirmed its responsibility for the bombs saying they targeted Kurdish bases, using three trucks packed full of explosives as bombs. Earlier in the week it was reported that ISIS had advanced onto hills overlooking the town. Often they will launch bomb attacks against a town to weaken the morale of defending forces and overwhelm the limited medical facilities before fighting begins.
Tel Tamar is one of the 35 Assyrian villages on the Khabur river captured by ISIS in February and took 253 hostages. 120 have been released, 3 executed, but 120 are still being held. ISIS had destroyed all the churches in the villages, looted and razed homes—a majority remain uninhabitable. ISIS had warned released hostages not to return to their villages or they will be killed. The villages are now liberated, but the majority of 3,000 Assyrians who lived there have not returned. Most have fled to Hasaka and Lebanon, others to Germany, Australia and Sweden.
Christians held a combined funeral in Tel Tamar, Syria for the 4 Assyrians who were killed by the triple ISIS suicide bombings. The deceased Assyrians have been identified as George Ballo, Slivo Isaac, Milia Tolo and Hisham Bato.
Please pray for the those who, a few short weeks before Christmas, are intensely grieving. Pray for Christians who remain and targeted by this murderous group. Pray they will find peace while seeking refuge in other countries. Many are being overlooked in the overwhelming refugee crisis. Some have even faced further persecution by Muslims in refugee camps and centers. Pray for peace in the Middle East.