HASAKAH – The Assyrian Charity Association in Syria organized a festival for children who have been recently released by ISIS after months of abduction from Tel Temir town in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province.
The association has also provided the freed children with psychological support sessions aimed at rehabilitating those children who had suffered traumatic events at the hands of ISIS militants.
Speaking to ARA News, Siham Khammou Trainer, head of the Assyrian Charity Association, said: “We have worked on this project for the sake of supporting children who had suffered a lot during their abduction by ISIS.”
“We tried to include them into groups with other children. In the beginning they preferred to stay isolated, which raised our concerns about their psychological status. We are still working hard to bring them back to a normal life in cooperation with other children of their age in order to get rid of the traumatic experience gradually.”
Tel Temir town and the surrounding villages have been exposed to fierce attacks by ISIS militants in February 2015, where the radical group abducted some 280 Assyrian Christians.
The abductees were recently released after the Assyrian organization paid ransoms to ISIS. The final butch of abductees was released last February. However, two Assyrian girls from Tel Temir are still held by the radical group.
The kidnapped Assyrians had been deprived of their right to practice own religious rituals, and many of them were obliged to learn texts from the Quran. They had also been separated from each others; men were staying in a separate location than women and children, and those Christian women had been obliged to wear Islamic dress.
Sabina Youkhana, a released Assyrian hostage, told ARA News: “The group has released us, and the Assyrian Charity Association has helped us enormously by organizing several activities. We are very happy now, and we have many new friends.”
On the other hand, reports confirmed that the recently freed Assyrian women had received a better treatment by ISIS compared to Yezidi women–who have been suffering slavery at the hands of ISIS jihadis for being deemed ‘apostates’.
Oudisho Youkhana, another freed Assyrian from Tel Teimr, said: “We have been abducted on the 24th of February 2015. We have been held in Shaddadi city, then we were transferred to a prison in Raqqa. The treatment was generally fine. We have appeared before a Sharia Court, which decided that we pay ransoms in accordance with the al-Baqara chapter in the Quran.”