Christian Today reports that the captives were freed in al-Hasakah in Syria. About 150 of the 250 captives have thus far been released and the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization (ACERO) is working for the release of the remaining hostages.
“The 16 freed hostages, comprising men, women and children, was met and embraced by His Grace Mar Afram Athneil, Bishop of Syria and Chairman of ACERO," read a statement on the organization’s Facebook page.
"ACERO continues to play a leading role in supporting the released hostages and their families through the generosity of our supporters and partner organizations."
The Islamic State released videos in October, showing three of the hostages being beheaded, and calling for $23 million to be paid as ransom for the rest of the captives’ release.
However, it became clear that the Assyrian community could not afford to pay such an exorbitant amount, so it was lowered to $12-14 million.
Publication date: January 14, 2016