By Martin Roth, BosNewsLife Senior Special Correspondent
DAMASCUS/LOS ANGELES (BosNewsLife)– Syrian Christian activist and filmmaker Sargon Saadi has urged Christians in the West to step up efforts to help besieged Assyrians, after the kidnapping of 150 Assyrian Christians by militants of the Islamic State group.
“People in the West can lobby their governments to increase support and aid to the many thousands of displaced Assyrian families in Iraq and Syria,” he told BosNewsLife. “They can also pray for the quick release of the hostages”.
Saadi is a Los Angeles-based cinematographer and director of the acclaimed short movie “The Last Plight,” which portrays in graphic detail the suffering of Assyrians.
He said he has been calling family and friends in Syria regularly for news of the kidnap victims, but their whereabouts remain unknown.
“They are mainly women and children abducted from the peaceful Assyrian villages of the Khabour Valley in north-eastern Syria,” Saaidi explained. “Many of them are my friends’ families and acquaintances.
FAMILIES IN FEAR
“I can only imagine how their families are feeling right now, given the heinous record of this barbaric terrorist group,” he added. “This is a major catastrophe.”
He said Syria’s government still retained a significant military capability, but had made no effort to protect the villages when they were attacked, nor was it trying to rescue the hostages.
Assyrians themselves have only modest military means, and lack the ability to fight back or recapture their villages, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
Saadi’s movie, “The Last Plight,” was released at the end of last year. It has been translated into six languages and shown on four television channels.
The movie was screened at the European Parliament and won an award from the Vimeo video-sharing platform. It is expected to be shown this year at film festivals in several countries.