Urfa, Turkey – The Assyrian Network for Human Rights (ANHR) revealed Monday that the negotiations between some Assyrian leaders and the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) on the release of the Assyrian hostages were suspended after the group asked for $22million as a ransom for their release.
Speaking to ARA News, civil rights activist from the town of Tel Temir in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, said that secret negotiations were taking place between some Assyrian leading members and the Islamic State group, mediated by Arab tribal figures.
“The group, through asking for such a big amount of money, is trying to put more pressure on the U.S.-led international coalition,” an Assyrian source said on condition of anonymity, pointing out that the group may kill some Assyrian abductees in an attempt to force negotiators paying the ransom.
Ransom returns are deemed as a main financial resource of the radical group to cover the costs of its military operations in Syria and Iraq.
About 212 Assyrian hostages are held by the IS extremists in Hasakah province, after the group stormed Assyrian villages in the countryside of Tel Temir in the province. Among the hostages there area at least 84 women, 39 children, and dozens of elderly men.
The ANHR expressed its deep concerns about the fate of the Assyrian hostages, appealing to the international community to intervene and assist in releasing them from fist of the extremist group.
The Islamic State kidnapped 235 civilians in the countryside of Tel Temir on February 23. Of them, 23 have been released, while 212 others are still held by the IS militants.
Reporting by: Jan Nasro and Jiwan Saman