DOHUK, Iraq - Dozens of Assyrian Christians were abducted by Islamic State forces during a new offensive against a string of villages in northeastern Syria, aid and civil rights organizations reported.

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BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon - Many Lebanese have spent as much time as possible indoors this winter, protecting themselves from this year's unusually brutal cold season.

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ROME - The kidnapping of Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar has made Jesuit Refugee Service reassess the way it operates in many high-risk countries, said an agency official.

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AMMAN, Jordan - As Jordan steps up airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria to avenge the murder of its pilot, Catholic and other leaders are hoping that the tragedy can still yield good for the future.

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BEIRUT - Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs called for an end to financing terrorists and suggested that borders be closed when necessary to prevent their movement.

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BEIRUT - Officials of a pontifical aid agency said they saw much that needed done in Lebanon -- if they could get beyond crisis mode.

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MONTREAL - The long-term survival of Christianity in the Middle East is threatened and “humanity in the region where Christianity was born will not be the same without it,” a spokesman for Aid to the Church in Need told a seminar in Montreal this week.

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TORONTO - Catholic refugee sponsors stand ready to do their part in bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, but they want to hear more from the federal government about its plans.

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TORONTO - It’s not easy being Syrian, especially if you’re the forgotten minority caught in the tsunami of sectarian massacres and ethnic cleansing referred to as the Syrian civil war.

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AMMAN, Jordan - A Catholic official warned that funding will soon run out to feed and house thousands of Iraqi Christians sheltering in Jordan after being made homeless by Islamic State militants.
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From imprisonment to torture to beheadings, more Christians worldwide live in fear for their lives than at any time in the modern era.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis deplored the "abuses and inhuman acts" of Islamic State militants, and called on all religious leaders to condemn them "unanimously and unambiguously." He also said he hoped to travel to the Middle East to comfort persecuted Christians there.

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BEIRUT - Syrian children who have seen their houses bombed and family members killed are using string, glue, socks, beads and other odds and ends to help put their lives back together.

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BEIRUT, Lebanon - A Vatican official who just returned from a visit to Syria said "the humanitarian situation is worse than I thought."

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WASHINGTON - Prayers from around the world and an unwavering faith in God have continued to provide a strong foundation for John and Diane Foley after their son, journalist James Foley, was murdered in Syria by Islamic State militants Aug. 19.

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