Islamic State kidnaps around 150 Assyrian Christians in Syria

Map of Tal Tamer in the Al Hasakah countryside

The Islamic State abducted around 150 Assyrian Christians near the town of Tal Tamer in the Al Hasakah countryside in Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is reporting that the Assyrians were kidnapped in a pre-dawn raid in the town as part of a larger offensive on Assyrian villages in the area. The Islamic State was able to take over several villages in the offensive. In addition to kidnapping the Assyrian civilians, the Syriac International News Agency has reported that at least one church has been destroyed by the jihadist group.

The kidnappings come after the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit’s (YPG) and the Syriac Military Council (MFS), an Assyrian military group operating in eastern Syria and in the Ninewa province of Iraq, launched an offensive on Islamic State positions in the region. The MFS released a statement on Twitter yesterday saying, “Although there has been resistance against ISIS, the terrorist organization has been able to capture the villages of Tal Shamiran, Tal Tawil, Tal Hourmiz, and several surrounding villages of Tal Tamer.” However, the MFS said that its forces, fighters from the YPG, and fighters from the Sutoro are still fighting the Islamic State in the region today. The Sutoro is an Assyrian Christian militia that operates in Al Hasakah.

SOHR is reporting that the YPG, MFS, and the Sutoro has been able to retake over 30 villages in the region, while the Islamic State has launched at least one vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) on Kurdish forces. The VBIED attack left no one injured, but at least 11 Islamic State fighters and several fighters from the YPG have been killed according to the SOHR.

The Islamic State has also released several pictures from fighting near Tal Tamer today. The photos show Islamic State fighters with technicals, old bolt-action sniper rifles, mortars, and an armored vehicle. One photo shows fighters planning the battle, while another shows two Islamic State fighters with a captured YPG vehicle. The photos were produced by the Islamic State’s Wilayat Raqqah and not it’s Wilayat Baraka [this administrative division of the jihadist group consists of Syria’s Al Hasakah province], which could signal operational overlap between the two administrative divisions. As of the writing of this post, the Islamic State has yet to release any photos of the captured Assyrians. Some reports have suggested that several have been rescued by the YPG, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Photos from the Islamic State in Tal Tamer can be seen below

Islamic State heavy weaponry:
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Technicals mounted with anti-air weapons:

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Islamic State snipers:

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Planning the operation:

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Captured YPG technical:

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Islamic State BMP being used in the fighting:

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UPDATE:
The numbers have been changed to reflect the new tally of Assyrians kidnapped by the Islamic State in Al Hasakah.

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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11 Comments

  • mike merlo says:

    Interesting, so these guys have access to equipment & technology that allows them produce quality maps & to have the Maps available in ‘Real Time’

    • Fred says:

      Yes, there are a number of different sites that are used- Wikipedia has maps of many different areas, although they’re not up to date, but there’s a site called wikimapia that is updated by the different sides in real time…. I have still not figured out how to get it working properly but it’s clear that it’s updated even while fights are ongoing, such as during the failed Aleppo offensive last week.

  • mike merlo says:

    //www.cbsnews.com/news/isis-reportedly-kidnaps-30-hazara-shiites-in-afghanistan-zabul-province/

    this happened sooner than I anticipated. Hopefully that 2nd Front on Iran’s Eastern Border isn’t far behind. I wonder if this possibly signals the Afghan Taliban having some kind of relationship with the Afghan Government or will they move into 90’s Mode & be part of instigating another cycle of ‘every man(clan/tribe) for himself’ Mujahedeen Warfare

  • Thomas Mazza says:

    Enjoyed the information contained herein. As a retired disabled Marine veteran. Seeing the truth and not political narrative in the news is refreshing. Thank you.

  • Rosario says:

    Merlo,

    Good point about the maps. They must have access to pricey color artwork plotters and expensive ink cartridges – indications of a good supply line as those plotters go quite a lot of ink. Looks like they are printing using Google maps, or getting some other satellite support. I wonder where they are able to find a local internet connection.

  • GHOST420 says:

    They get those maps from MIT. Turkish intel. That’s what I think. And most likely correct.

    • mike merlo says:

      highly doubtful. The various Terrorist Organisations & Islamic Insurgencies have already demonstrated their ‘grasp’ of Social Networking & a skill for delivering content. Early on in the AfPak Theater the US Military & Intel Community communicated with Google about limiting one’s capacity to ’employ’ Google Maps. The Senior Military Head of ISIS/ISIL, Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, was a Colonel in the Iraqi Army under Saddam & was also part of Iraq’s Air Defense Intelligence & he is just one of many ex-Iraqi Officer’s in the C&C structure.

      While I have no doubt that many, if not all, of the Muslim Nation’s Intel Agencies are collaborating with the various Terrorist Organisations/Insurgencies on multiple levels its also quite obvious that many of these Terrorist Organisations/Islamic Insurgencies are Tech savvy

      • Fred says:

        This is correct. Nothing fancy, just open source materials and crowdsourcing. Such an American approach to assume you need fancy gadgets and high level training to solve a problem…

  • rtloder says:

    Erdogen is plugging for Nusra and their allies, IS is supported by oligarchs and covert dealings of establishment investment portfolios interested in exchange rates and market volatility , mainly derivatives verses resource based equity and derivatives want to stay on top.

    • mike merlo says:

      Erdogan is for whoever or whatever that will assist Turkey in gaining control of the Oil Fields that straddle northern Syria & Iraq. He’ll even go so far to support an Independent Kurdish Nation if it kowtows to Turkey concerning Oil. Erdogan will also support an ISS/ISIL Nation if it to kowtows to Turkey on matters/issues important to Erdogan hence Turkey

      • rtloder says:

        Mid last year Erdogen did make statements supporting a Kurdish State, that was after the Gulen inquisition ,Gulen was 100% pro Kurdish State as a broader Regional initiative, I often think back to his remarks and wonder if they were tongue in cheek, Erdogen is very bombastic.

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