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Al Qaeda-Linked Islamists Capture Christian Town

09-08-2014
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Syrian rebel forces led by al Nusra Front captured the Armenian Christian town of Kassab in Latakia near the Turkish border this week. The ancient town has a population of about 1,700 people.

Al Nusra Front fighters led the coalition of Islamist forces, which included Ahrar al Sham, the Islamic Front, and Chechen-led jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Online video shows the rebels walking through the city's deserted streets shouting praises to Allah.

Syrian Armenians blamed Turkey for the rebel forces' advance.

"The Turks are [working against] us again," Wall Street Journal quoted a tweet from a town resident. "This is unacceptable considering history. Genocide repeat [in] Kassab. What a bad day this has been. God bless everyone who is defending the beautiful village of Kassab."

Despite promises by Islamist forces not to harm any Christians or their churches, some reports say up to 80 people have been killed and at least three churches desecrated as Syrian Christians flee the town.

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