by Abigail Southerland
Three weeks before the February attack, ISIS threatened Assyrians in the region that they would be forced from their homes or killed unless they removed the crosses from their churches and paid a Christian tax – one of the many forms of revenue relied upon ISIS. It is believed that the purpose of the kidnapping was to retaliate against Kurdish militants who were able to defeat ISIS and free 22 Kurdish villages around Kobane formerly under ISIS’s control, and to arrange for the return of ISIS militants held captive by the Kurdish militants in exchange for the kidnapped Christians.
Northern Syria has become a vital location for ISIS’s operations. It is estimated that ISIS now controls more than half of Syria and its oil fields, providing the militant group up to $3 million dollars of revenue every day...