National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Syria

St. Vincent de Paul members abducted in Syria, whereabouts unknown

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The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been unable to confirm the number of its members abducted in Syria, as well as where they are being held.

"We're waiting for news," Helene Afriat, communications officer for the International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris, told Catholic News Service on Friday. She added that communication with people in the Mideast was "very difficult."

As Islamic State steps up attacks, Christian leaders call for help

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Christian leaders again called for help for Assyrian Christians as Islamic State militants stepped up their attacks against their towns in northern Syria.

Syria's northeast Hassakeh province is emerging as the new battlefield in the fight against extremist group. Analysts say Hassakeh province, which extends like a thumb into neighboring Iraq and Turkey, could become the fault line of a new multifront and lengthy war between Islamic State militants and Christians allied with Kurdish fighters.

Catholic aid group channels money to help Christians displaced in Syria

A pontifical aid organization has begun sending aid to families who fled their homes when Islamic State militants raided a cluster of Assyrian Christian villages on the Khabur River in northeast Syria.

The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, upon learning about the Islamic State attacks, contacted Bishop Aprim Nathniel of the Assyrian Church of the East in Hassakeh, with whom the agency had collaborated on previous projects, said Michel Constantin, CNEWA's regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

Islamic State militant ‘Jihadi John’ named by media

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The Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John,” who has been seen in videos of hostages’ beheadings, was identified Thursday by the BBC and The Washington Post.

Mohammed Emwazi, who is in his mid-20s, is believed to be a Kuwaiti-born British man from west London. The BBC said he was known to British security services, who chose not to disclose his name for operational reasons.

Activists: Islamic State group now holding 220 Christians in Syria

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The number of Christians abducted by the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria has risen to 220, activists said Thursday.

The United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the civilians were kidnapped from 11 villages near the town of Tal Tamr over the past three days by the militants, who control vast swaths of Syria and Iraq.

The abductions, which started Monday, caused thousands of residents to flee and become refugees in nearby cities.

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March 27-April 9, 2015

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