ISIS attacks more Christian villages in northeastern Syria

2015-03-07 16:00
(Raqqa media centre, AP)

(Raqqa media centre, AP)

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Beirut - ISIS militants attacked a string of predominantly Christian villages in north-eastern Syria on Saturday, touching off heavy clashes with Kurdish militiamen and their local allies, activists said.

The attack began around dawn and targeted at least three villages near the town of Tal Tamr along the Khabur River in Hassakeh province. ISIS kidnapped more than 220 Christians from the same area last month after overrunning several farming communities on the southern bank of the river.

The fighting Saturday was focused in villages on the northern bank of the river as the militants press to capture Tal Tamr, a strategic crossroads some 35km from the city of Hassakeh, said Osama Edwards, director of the Assyrian Network for Human Rights.

"The battles are now very intensive, very violent," said Edwards, who is based in Sweden. "Tal Tamr is the main goal of ISIS, to give them the corridor to the eastern border to Iraq."

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the fighting around Tal Tamr, which it said was coming under ISIS artillery fire. Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman says ISIS initially made gains before Kurdish fighters and local militiamen pushed them back.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

Read more on:    isis  |  syria  |  security

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