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More acts of cruelty reported

Feb 25,2015 - Last updated at Feb 25,2015

The reported abduction of tens of Assyrian Christians in northeastern Syria by the Daesh gang highlights the plight of Christian communities in the Middle Eastern countries caught up in war or violence.

While entire populations suffer under the present circumstances, minorities, like Assyrians in this case or Yazidis before them, feel even more vulnerable, with a less extended network of support there in case of need.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Daesh on Tuesday carried out dawn raids on villages inhabited by this ancient Christian minority west of Hasaka, an area bordering territory controlled by Daesh in Iraq.

Christians in the region, ancient populations from the dawn of Christianity, have been part of the social fabric of their countries and peacefully coexisted with their Muslim neighbours through history.

The rise of extremism and intolerance witnessed lately puts them at risk, as much as it endangers the lives of peaceful Muslims that terrorists consider unbelievers simply for not adhering to their misguided interpretation of religion.

Christians have contributed greatly to the development of the area; now, out of fear, they are made to emigrate in droves, abandoning ancestral homes in search of safety, changing the demographic map of the Middle East in a sad 21st century development.

Daesh did not confirm the latest kidnappings, but there is no reason to doubt the monitoring group’s assertion.

The act only adds to the long list of crimes Daesh has committed against innocent people.

Kidnappings, over and above the savage killings, should open the eyes of the international community to Daesh’s cruelty and to the plight of the peoples of the region.

Christian minorities were allowed to exercise their basic rights, including the right to observe their faith freely, for thousands of years. Most Middle Eastern countries had these rights enshrined in their constitutions.

No power, official or renegade, should be allowed to deprive them — all citizens, to be sure — of their basic rights.

The war against Daesh must increase in intensity and determination, so that this outlaw gang can be dealt a final blow.

For as long as it exists, it is bound to continue to threaten innocent people, and cause death and destruction, in the process marring the image of a faith embraced by over a billion peaceful, law-abiding citizens.

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