Islamic State (Isis) militants have kidnapped between 70 and 100 Christians of the Assyrian minority in the north-eastern Syrian province of al-Hasakah, according to a monitoring group and an advocacy organisation.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which relies on a local network of activists, cited "reliable sources" as saying that the jihadists abducted dozens of Syrians in the village of Tal Shamiram, in the Tal Tamer area.
The sources said that IS members confirmed via wireless devices that they had detained "90 crusaders". Others reported that dozens of Assyrian people were kidnapped from the nearby village of Tal Hermez.
The report has been confirmed to IBTimes UK by Nuri Kino, founder of A Demand for Action (ADFA), an organisation campaigning for Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs in the country.
"IS attacked the Syrian villages at 5am and displaced 3,000 people," Kino said. "That has been confirmed to us by different sources: refugees and fighters got in touch with relatives in Sweden, Germany and Canada."
He said that 70 to 100 people, mainly women and children, have been abducted in the attack and the men were taken to the Abd al-Aziz mountains.
Another activist, Osama Edward, president of the Sweden-based Assyrian rights group, told IBTimes UK that at least 500 families escaped the IS attack and fled to Qamishli and Hasakah city, where they found refuge in a church.
"IS attacked the first of a chain of 10 villages in the area abducting dozens of people. Some of them managed to alert the other villages so that people could flee," he said.
"My wife has relatives among the kidnapped. Yesterday night she lit a candle and she is praying for them. We don't know their destiny, maybe there will be a prisoner exchange."
According to an earlier Newsweek report the women remained in the village guarded by IS militants.
IS reportedly demanded a prisoner swap with Kurdish fighters but the exact number of prisoners they are looking to exchange is unknown.
Several members of the local militia, the Syriac military council, were also said to be missing. The council, known by MSF, was founded to fight IS in northern Syria.
The Assyrians, also known as Chaldeans, are an ancient ethnic group belonging to the Syriac Christianity and speaking Aramaic.
The majority of those kidnapped are Catholics.