Reports are emerging of the killing of Syrian Christians by Islamic State militants in the town of al-Qaryatain. Some 21 Christians were murdered when almost 300 Christians remained in the city after IS captured it last August, said the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II. They included three women, he told the BBC.
He said some died whilst trying to escape while the others were killed for breaking the terms of their “dhimmi contracts”, which require them to submit to the rule of Islam. Five more Christians are still missing and believed dead. Negotiations and the payment of ransoms have seen the remainder of the group re-join their families. The patriarch said warnings had come that Islamic State planned to sell Christian girls into slavery. Read more
Video: A visit by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch to the Syrian town of Qaryatain has shed light on devastations left by Islamic State militants on the town, retaken by the Syrian army a week earlier.