BEIRUT – The Islamic State jihadist group has kidnapped at least 90 civilians of the Assyrian minority in the northeastern Syrian province of al-Hasakah, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Tuesday.
The civilians were taken in the villages of Tal Shamiram and Tal Hurmuz, Tal Tamr town, where clashes between extremists and Kurdish forces took place.
In addition, at least 14 IS members were killed during U.S.-led international coalition air strikes in the areas close to Tal Hamis town on the outskirts of Qameshli city in al-Hasakah, SOHR said.
The Assyrians are a mainly Christian ethnic minority and most of them reside in al-Hasakah, with other communities in Iraq and Turkey.
Before the breakout of the Syrian civil war four years ago, there were about 120,000 Assyrians in al-Hasakah but most of them have fled to neighboring countries.
The kidnapping of the Assyrians coincides with offensives carried out by Kurdish fighters to expel the jihadists from oil-rich areas in al-Hasakah.