Hasaka, Syria (AINA) -- 19 Assyrians that were captured from the village of Tel Goran have been released by ISIS and have arrived safely at St. Mary's Church in Hasaka, Syria. Negotiations for their release had been ongoing for three days and were mediated by local Arab tribal leaders.
Of the 19 that were released, 17 are men and 2 are women. But not all who were captured from Tel Goran were released. One of the hostages, an elderly woman, said that ISIS did not release her son and 2 other men who were guarding the village.
ISIS also refused to release a 6 year old girl named Mariana Mirza. According to reports from the released hostages, Bobo, the aunt of Mariana's father, had been released but volunteered to stay behind with the girl. The father of Mariana, Abdo Mirza, was given a letter of safe passage by ISIS and instructed to bring money to pay for the release of his daughter.
The hostages looked tired and disheveled but were otherwise unharmed.
See attacks on Assyrians in Syria for more information.
The number of Assyrians captured by ISIS is between 262 and 373. With the release of this group of 19, the number still being held by ISIS remains in the hundreds. According to Assyrian leaders, negotiations for the release of the remainder of the hostages are ongoing.
On February 23 ISIS attacked the Assyrian villages of Tel Goran, Tel Hurmiz, Tel Tamar, Tel Baloaa Tel Shamiran, Tel Riman, Tel Nasra, Tel Khareta, Tel Jazira, Tel Fweidat, Qaber Shamiyeh and Abu Tena.
Nine Assyrian fighters died defending their villages in the initial attacks and there are reports that ISIS has executed at least 12 Assyrian fighters who were captured, two of them women.
The majority of the Assyrians were captured from Tel Shamiran, Tel Hurmiz, Tel Goran and Tel Jazira (AINA 2015-02-26).
Nearly 3000 Assyrians have fled from the 35 Assyrian villages on the Khabur river to Hasaka and Qamishli. There is a critical need for shelter for the refugees.
An earlier version of this story stated that Mariana's mother was captured, but she never was. She is pregnant and had left Tel Goran before the attacks by ISIS in expectation of delivering her child.