National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Amman, Jordan

Christians grow weary over rising threat of kidnapping in Syria, Iraq

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Arab Christians are viewing with growing concern and revulsion an uptick in kidnappings of both their clergy and civilians as violence worsens in Syria and Iraq.

In mid-July, another Catholic clergyman went missing in Syria, making him possibly the eighth clerical victim of apparent abduction in the war-ravaged country.

Melkite Fr. Tony Boutros, 50, and his Muslim driver were first reported missing by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

As Islamic State steps up attacks, Christian leaders call for help

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Christian leaders again called for help for Assyrian Christians as Islamic State militants stepped up their attacks against their towns in northern Syria.

Syria's northeast Hassakeh province is emerging as the new battlefield in the fight against extremist group. Analysts say Hassakeh province, which extends like a thumb into neighboring Iraq and Turkey, could become the fault line of a new multifront and lengthy war between Islamic State militants and Christians allied with Kurdish fighters.

Syrian refugees' reactions mixed to airstrikes against Islamic State

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Ask Syrian refugees sheltering in neighboring Jordan about the advent of U.S.-led strikes against Islamic State militants in their homeland, and the reactions will be mixed.

Some welcome the surprise military intervention, saying it could lead to ending the nearly 4-year-old war in Syria and diminish the power of Islamic State fighters and other terrorist groups operating in the country.

Gazans, aid workers wait to see if truce will be renewed

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Humanitarians and the people of the Gaza Strip are apprehensive about whether there will be a renewal of the truce between Israel and the militant Hamas, said a U.S. Catholic aid official.

"There's a lot of hope that the airstrikes and rockets will not start again after Tuesday midnight because of such a traumatic, terrible month," said Matthew McGarry, who directs the Catholic Relief Services' operations in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

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