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Fate of abducted Christians unclear as fierce fighting continues in Syria

A phone displays the RCMP website in this photo illustration taken in Toronto on Jan. 9, 2015. The RCMP and many other police forces are refusing to pay new fees imposed by Rogers Communications for helping track suspects through their mobile phones. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives

Fierce fighting between Kurdish and Christian militiamen and Islamic State group militants is continuing in northeastern Syria where the extremist group recently abducted at least 70 Assyrian Christians.

Hassakeh province which borders Turkey and Iraq is the latest stage for the fight against Islamic State.

The group overran a cluster of villages nestled along the Khabur River on Monday, seizing dozens of Christians, many of them women and children. Thousands of others fled to safer areas.

The fate of those kidnapped was still unclear Wednesday, two days after they were seized.

CNN reports militants are holding more hostages than previously thought and are apparently planning to release a message on Wednesday threatening to kill them.

Islamic State is now believed to be holding 150 hostages, Osama Edward, the founder of the Assyrian Human Rights Network, told CNN.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a Christian group called the Syriac Military Council said heavy clashes against IS militants in the area are continuing.