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Assyrian family shares tale of capture, displacement

A family of Assyrians, one of Syria’s Christian sects, tells Al-Monitor their story of surviving imprisonment by the Islamic State only to lose their son this year to the fighting in Raqqa.
An Assyrian Church is seen damaged, due to what activists said was a bomb placed by Islamic State fighters, in tel Nusri, May 21, 2015. Picture taken May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTX1E3X3
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For the second year in a row, Mariam Sarkis’ parents did not celebrate Christmas. In December 2015, their daughter was still being held by the Islamic State organization. Although she was later released, this past Christmas the parents were mourning their only son, Basil, who died Dec. 5 in clashes that erupted in the north of Raqqa. Basil, 25, fought against IS in the ranks of the Souturo forces allied with the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Mariam's family belongs to the Assyrian Christian minority. They're from the village of Tell Shamiram, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the northwest of the city of Hasakah in northern Syria.

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