Jihadists from the Islamic State group (ISIS) have kidnapped at least 90 Assyrian Christians in northeast Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britain-based monitor said the abductions took place on Tuesday after ISIS seized two Assyrian villages from Kurdish forces in the province of Hassakeh, reports AFP.
The abduction raises particular concerns after ISIS last Sunday released video showing its terrorists beheading Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
US-led air strikes against ISIS in Syria have killed more than 1,600 people, mainly jihadists, since they began five months ago, the Observatory said Monday. Almost all of those killed were jihadists from ISIS and Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Nusra Front, though the Observatory also documented the deaths of 62 civilians.
The strikes that began on September 23 reportedly killed 1,465 members of the Islamic State group, most of them non-Syrians. Another 73 fighters from Nusra Front were killed, along with a man from a rebel group being held prisoner by ISIS in the group's de facto capital Raqa.
Washington and a small coalition of Arab countries began strikes against ISIS in Syria last year, expanding US-led operations with a broader coalition already underway against ISIS in Iraq
New Pentagon chief Ashton Carter on Monday vowed "lasting defeat" of ISIS as he summoned top generals and diplomats to Kuwait to review the war effort against the jihadists.
Only days after taking office, Carter convened the extraordinary meeting of more than two dozen senior military officers, ambassadors and intelligence officials at the sprawling US Army base of Camp Arifjan.
Speaking to American troops at the base before the talks, Carter said the US-led coalition was "pressing" the ISIS group "very ably from Kuwait and elsewhere."
"And we will deliver lasting defeat, make no doubt," he said.