Islamic State Kidnaps Syrian Christians
The militant Islamist group seizes more than 200 people after taking control of the town of Qaryatain.
Islamic State militants have kidnapped scores of people from a church after taking control of the Syrian town of Qaryatain.
At least 230 people were taken from the town in the central province of Homs, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Among them were 45 women and 19 children, it said.
Qaryatain lies between the cities of Homs, Palmyra and Damascus and has a mixed population of around 40,000 Sunni Muslims and Christians.
It is home to a large number of people who have fled the fighting in Homs.
Pictures published on IS-linked social-media accounts purported to show members of IS battling for the town and posing with a tank allegedly captured from Syrian forces.
The Syrian army has reportedly launched a counter-offensive in an attempt to recapture the city.
An army statement said its forces had targeted "terrorist outposts" in the area and killed scores of militants.
In February, the group abducted some 250 Assyrian Christians during raids on villages in northeastern Syria which coincided with an offensive in the region by US-backed Kurdish forces.
The latest abduction came as the US and its allies carried out 27 airstrikes against IS targets in Syria and Iraq, according to the US military.