The so-called Islamic State has released 43 Assyrian Christians – the remaining hostages of the 253 kidnapped in February last year in northern Syria.

The group is on its way to Tel Tamr, a town close to the villages they were abducted from, according to Younan Talia of the Assyrian Democratic Organization.

Talia said the release came after mediation by a top Assyrian priest in northern Syria.

In October, IS released a video showing the execution of three of the hostages, and threatened to kill those still in captivity unless ransoms were paid. Newsweek reported that a price of $100,000 was paid for each hostage released.

The remaining hostages, many of whom were women and children, were released in groups over the last 12 months.

Sources: AP, ACERO