Just 15 miles away from territory now occupied by Islamic State, the Syrian Christians of Qamishli gathered in the church of the Holy Virgin for the wedding of Malek Aissa and Ilana Hacho.

At the wedding priests told the Independent how IS has brought their church to its knees.

The city Qamishli is isolated in the far north-east of Syria; the land to the east is defended by armed Syrian Kurds, but the Turkish border is closed, and the rest area is held by IS.

About 3,000 Christians have left the city and now 5,000 remain but many of them are talking of leaving.

“When the Christians had to flee Mosul and the valley of Nineveh, the Christians here thought that what happened in Iraq would happen here in Qamishli,” said Syrian pastor Fr Saliba who told the Independent he has already lost almost half of his own parish.

Source: The Independent