Reports have emerged that the Islamic State (Isis) militants have taken at least 150 Assyrian Christians captive, and that as many as eight of the captured men have been executed by the radical Sunni group.
Initial reports early Tuesday claimed that 90 Assyrian Christians, including women and children, had been kidnapped by Isis fighters from several villages in northeast Syria.
Christian Syrian activists now claim that the number may well be above 150. The Assyrian Christians were abducted from Tal Shamiram town in the countryside of the predominantly-Kurdish city of al-Hasaka. Others were reportedly taken from the village of Tal Hermez.
Bassam Ishak, President of the Syriac National Council of Syria, whose family is from Hasaka, told Reuters from Amman that his group has confirmed that at least 150 people, including women and elderly, have been kidnapped by the militants.
Isis fighters reportedly burned down homes and destroyed churches. With the Isis still surrounding the villages, hundreds of locals are still trapped, while over 3,000 have been displaced.
It is also being feared that Isis may carry out mass beheadings similar to what it did with the 21 Coptic Christians.
Reports on social media claim that Isis already has started executing the Assyrian Christian men. At least eight Assyrian Christians were reportedly executed by Isis, after accusing them of being 'crusaders.'
"Isis was taking all of the women and children and killing the men who were resisting," the Assyrian source citing an eyewitness said.
With the situation in the area being chaotic, the information could not be verified independently.
The United States condemning the kidnappings has called for the release of the Assyrian Christians.
"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms ISIL's [Isis] attacks yesterday on predominantly Assyrian Christian villages in the northeast Syrian province of Hasakeh, where they kidnapped dozens of civilians, including women, children, priests, and the elderly," Jen Psaki, US Department of State Spokesperson said in an official statement.
"We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the civilians taken captive yesterday and of all those held by ISIL [Isis]."