Islamic State (Isis) militants have abducted at least 90 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria, a monitoring group that tracks violence in Syria said on Tuesday.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants carried out dawn raids on rural villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority west of Hasaka, a city mainly held by the Kurds.
Syrian Kurdish militia have renewed their assault on the militants, launching two offensives against them in northeast Syria on Sunday, helped from United States-led air strikes and Iraqi peshmerga who have been shelling Isis-held territory from their side of the nearby border.
This part of Syria is strategically important in the fight against Isis because it borders territory controlled by the group in Iraq, where last year the ultra-hardline group committed atrocities against the Yazidi community.
Tel Tamr, a town near the Assyrian Christian villages where the abductions occurred, has witnessed heavy clashes between Isis fighters and the Kurdish YPG militia, the Observatory said. – Reuters