Catching Our Eye
Abandoned Syrian Christian leaders urge air strike
A Syrian Christian leader is urging the US to strike IS held positions following the news earlier this week that up to 220 Syrian Christians were kidnapped from Hassaka province.
“There is a need for immediate action similar to what took place in Kobani,” Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, told the American Catholic News Service, referring to air strikes that helped the Kurds successfully drive out extremists from the city on the border with Turkey.
Ishak's appeal was echoed by Hassaka's Catholic Arcbishop Jacques Hindo who expressed a sense of abandonment "into the hands of Daesh [the Arabic name for Islamic State]".
“We have 100 Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassaka, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians," Hindo added.
Source: Catholic Herald
'Turkey failed' 100+ Christians abducted by IS
The Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Hassaka-Nisibi has accused Turkey of preventing Christians from fleeing Syria to safety across the Turkish border, two days after Islamic State militants abducted at least 96 people. They lived in a cluster of villages in northeast Syria which had been under the control of Syrian Kurdish forces.
Bishop Jacques Behnan Hindo told Vatican Radio on Feb. 25 "Every day, families are emigrating from Damascus by plane because of the blockade we have around us," reported Agence France-Presse.
"In the north, Turkey allows through lorries, Daesh (IS) fighters, oil stolen from Syria, wheat and cotton. All of these can cross the border, but nobody [from the Christian community] can pass over."
The kidnapped Christians are part of Syria’s 30,000 Assyrian community, concentrated mostly in Hassaka province near the Turkish border. The BBC reports that the Syriac National Council of Syria has put the figure as high as 150, while Afram Yakoub of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden said sources on the ground told him that up to 285 people were missing, including 156 from the village of Tal Shamran and 90 from Tal al-Jazira.
Copts aid Egyptians evacuate Libya
The Coptic Church has set up a "crisis unit" in order to facilitate rapid evacuation and repatriation of Egyptians still present in Libya - starting with those most affected by the fighting.
Families of the expatriates have been urged to provide information to the Crisis Committee before Feb. 28.
According to sources consulted by Agenzia Fides, "the Crisis Committee, headed by Anba Raphael secretary of the Holy Synod, is collecting information from families of Copts who emigrated for reasons of work to Libya in view of arranging repatriation in coordination with Egyptian military and civil institutions."