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Hundreds of Christians Feared Captured by ISIS Near Syrian Village, Qaryatain: Group

More than 200 of Syrian Christians were unaccounted for and feared kidnapped by ISIS amid reports of fighting in the north of the country.
Image: An Assyrian woman attends a mass in solidarity with the Assyrians abducted by Islamic State fighters in Syria
An Assyrian woman attends a mass held solidarity with the Christians kidnapped by ISIS fighters in eastern Damascus on March 1. Omar Sanadiki / REUTERS

More than 200 Syrian Christians were unaccounted for and feared captured by ISIS on Friday amid reports of heavy fighting between the extremists and forces loyal to the government, a group monitoring the civil war told NBC News.

Some 230 Christians were missing after clashes in and around the village of Qaryatain in central Syria, said Nuri Kino, the President of Demand for Action, which works on behalf of Syrian religious minorities.

The list of those missing was compiled by members of the church in the city of Homs who were helping around 1,500 villagers fleeing the onslaught, added Kino.

Those who had emerged from the battlefield were in dire need of help, he added.

Related: No Place to Go: Christians Flee Iraq Militants

"People need medicine, they need water, they need food," Kino said. "The churches are overwhelmed with traumatized, scared villagers."

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported at least 230 people had been kidnapped. Dozens of these were likely Christians, some of whom were taken from a monastery in Qaryatain, Reuters reported.

ISIS has killed religious minorities and Sunni Muslim coreligionists who do not swear allegiance to its self-declared "caliphate." Christians are considered infidels.

Last February, the jihadists kidnapped at least 250 Assyrian Christians — many of them children and women — during raids in the northeast of the country. The mass abduction coincided with an offensive in the same region by Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led air strikes.