An RT Arabic crew traveled to a northeast Syrian town that was completely devastated by Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL) during fighting last summer, and talked to local Assyrians who endured the terrorist occupation and kidnappings.
Northeast Syria is home to most of the country’s Assyrian community, which is a Christian minority, making up around 5 percent of the Syrian population.
The town of Al-Khabur witnessed last summer’s battle between IS and the army-backed Kurdish militia.
When Islamic State rampaged through the area last year, hundreds of Assyrians were abducted. There were around 300 people kidnapped seized over the last year.
© RT Arabic
“We were kidnapped and kept hostage for six months. Then they took up to Raqqa, where we stayed for another two months. Only then were we liberated in small groups of 10 to 15 people,” a former IS hostage, Abras Durmu, told RT.
IS fighters also demolished many Christian churches as they attacked.
“The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary used to be the biggest one. Terrorists also demolished residential buildings and looted personal belongings from the residents,” local resident Sarkon Saleib said.
Since last summer, nothing has been done to repair the damage, with RT’s footage showing a town brought to rubble.
© lachicaphoto / Flickr
The IS has destroyed a 2,000-year-old gate near the Iraqi city of Mosul. The structure is known as the Gate of God, and used to guard the ancient Biblical, Assyrian city Nineveh.
The destruction of the ancient structure, also called the Mashqi Gate, has been confirmed by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, and the Antiquities Department in Baghdad hasn’t denied the demolition, The Independent reported.
The terrorists demolished the 2,000-year-old gate using military equipment, activists in Mosul told Kurdish media outlet ARA News.
Media activist Zuheir Mousilly added that ISIS have destroyed many of Iraqi historic sites and monuments, including the Assyrian city of Nimrud, the Winged Bulls, and the Mosul National Museum.
As for the gate, other reports suggested that the IS were dismantling it and selling separate blocks.
The historic Mishqi gate, which was discovered in 1968, is believed to be one of the ancient gates in eastern Nineveh province.
“ISIS views tombs they destroy as sacrilegious and a return to paganism,” Syrian antiquities chief Abdul Maamoun Abdulkarim told ARA News.
The city of Nineveh was mentioned in the Bible, dates to the 7th century BC, and was once the largest city in the world.
The destruction of the gate is just the latest in the series of acts of vandalism conducted by IS.
At the end of March, Syrian forces, with the aid of Russian military, seized control of the ancient town of historic Palmyra.
What they discovered when they entered the city were monuments destroyed or harmed, thousands of bombs and booby traps, ready to level the whole city.
Also, all over Palmyra, there were mass graves with dozens of tortured women and children, some only 500 meters from the ruins of ancient monuments.
Last year, ISIS extremists bombed the historic Yezidi ancient minaret of the Shingal district in northern Iraq, and a year ago, they blew up the church of Virgin Mary in the Assyrian village of Tel Nasri in northeastern Syria.