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Islamic State abducts 90 people in Syria

A monitor group says the militants carried out dawn raids on rural villages.

FILE: A screengrab taken from a video released in July 2014 allegedly shows members of Islamic State parading on top of a tank in Syria.

AMMAN - Islamic State militants have abducted at least 90 people from Assyrian Christian villages in north-eastern Syria, a monitoring group that tracks violence in Syria said on Tuesday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants carried out dawn raids on rural villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority west of Hasaka, a city mainly held by the Kurds.

Syrian Kurdish militia have renewed their assault on the militants, launching two offensives against them in north-east Syria on Sunday, helped from US-led air strikes and Iraqi peshmerga who have been shelling Islamic State-held territory from their side of the nearby border.

This part of Syria is strategically important in the fight against Islamic State because it borders territory controlled by the group in Iraq, where last year the ultra-hardline group committed atrocities against the Yazidi community.

Tel Tamr, a town near the Assyrian Christian villages where the abductions occurred, has witnessed heavy clashes between Islamic State fighters and the Kurdish YPG militia, the Observatory said.