Christian Syriacs from the Syrian town of Sadad kidnapped by Hezbollah

SADAD, Syria — Iranian-backed militias stationed in Syrian territory continue to violate the rights of the Syrian people, displacing them from their homes, seizing their property, and imposing demographic change.

Members of Lebanese Hezbollah arrested a number of Christian youths in the town of Sadad in Hmoth (Homs) countryside over alleged links with the Islamic State (ISIS). The Hezbollah members raided six homes of Christian families and kidnapped the young men.

Sources stated that the Hezbollah move was in response to the kidnapping of two Hezbollah members while they were passing through Sadad. A prominent resident in Sadad stated that Hezbollah’s accusation against the young men are blatantly false and absurd given ISIS’s persecution of Christians.

“The militias used this pretext to intimidate the residents, displace them, and then seize their property,” he added.

Situated approximately 60km south of Hmoth along the M5 highway, the majority Syriac Orthodox town has twice faced attacks from radical jihadist groups. In 2013, Sadad was overrun by the Islamist militants from the Al-Nusra Front. In 2015, ISIS advanced on the town while pushing back the forces of the Syrian regime.

Earlier that year, ISIS captured the mixed Sunni Muslim and Syriac Christian town of Qaryatayn. Hundreds of Sunni Muslim and Syriac Christians were kidnapped by ISIS. Syriacs were forced to follow the demands of the group or face death. 

The history of the town dates back roughly 4,000 years. It is mentioned twice in the Old Testament of the Bible.

“Sadad embodies the Syriac Christian presence in the region through the authenticity of its history,” said Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II in an interview earlier this year. “Since the Aramean Syriac era, Sadad preserved its identity and people.”