Hundreds of Christians Fear IS Attack, Flee Syrian Town

- VOA News,August 9, 2015

Scores of Christian families have fled a Syrian town amid fears that Islamic State militants are advancing toward it and plan a major offensive, activists said Saturday.

Osama Edward, director of the Christian Assyrian Network for Human Rights in Syria, said “hundreds of families” have fled the central Christian town of Sadad for the government-held central city of Homs and the capital, Damascus.

“People are living in fear in the area,” Edward said. "Many Christians around Sadad fear that what happened to ethnic Yazidis in Iraq and other Christians in Islamic State-controlled territory could happen to them — choosing between fleeing, converting to Islam or facing death,” Edward said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed heavy fighting in an area between the central town of Qaryatain and the village of Mheen, which is halfway to Sadad.

About 10 percent of Syria's prewar population of 23 million people was Christian.

August 8 was the first anniversary of the beginning of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq, because of its threat to the Yazidis.  Islamic State militants killed hundreds, possibly thousands of Yazidi men. Hundreds more are thought to have died in the chaotic flight from Islamic State.

The U.S.-led coalition has conducted nearly 6,000 airstrikes against Islamic State forces and has expanded its operations to target extremists in Syria.

However, a year later, Islamic State is able to launch attacks across its self-declared “caliphate” in both Iraq and Syria, despite some gains by Kurdish fighters and allied Iraqi forces.

VOA’s Kurdish service contributed to this report.

数百名叙利亚基督徒逃离伊斯兰国

- 美国之音,2015年8月9日

活动人士星期六表示,由于害怕伊斯兰国组织激进分子朝着自己的小镇推进,并计划发动重大攻势,叙利亚大批基督徒家庭逃离该国的小镇塞代德。

设在叙利亚的“基督徒亚述人权网络”主任奥萨马·爱德华表示,“数百个家庭已经逃离叙利亚中部基督徒城镇塞代德,前往政府控制的中部城市霍姆斯和首都大马士革。”

爱德华说,“这个地区的人们生活在恐惧之中。塞代德一带的很多基督徒害怕发生在伊拉克雅兹迪人以及伊斯兰国组织控制地区的其他基督徒身上的事情,也就是要从逃亡、改信伊斯兰教或者面临死亡三者之间做出选择,发生在自己身上。”

设在英国的叙利亚人权瞭望台证实,在中部城镇卡瑞亚坦和通往塞代德中途的村庄米恩之间的一个地区爆发了密集的战斗。

叙利亚内战前2300万人口当中,大约百分之十是基督徒。