Activists say hundreds of Christian families are fleeing a central Syrian town as Islamic State fighters advance toward it.

Osama Edward, the director of the Christian Assyrian Network for Human Rights in Syria, said "hundreds of families" have fled the Christian town of Sadad toward the government-held central city of Homs and the capital, Damascus.

Syria-based activist Bebars al-Talawy says intense clashes took place Saturday near the central town of Qaryatain, which the Islamic State group captured on Thursday. Qaryatain is about 25 kilometers (15 miles) northwest of Sadad.

Activists said the Islamic State group abducted 230 residents, including dozens of Christians, from Qaryatain in recent days. Activists say some Christians were released, though the fate of the others is still unknown.