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2019-07-25 10:57:53 Views : 574 |

News: 100,000 Syrian Christians Under Threat of Attack From Turkey, Plead for U.S. to Intervene

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By Will Maule, July 23, 2019


Thousands of Syrian Christians are in fear for their lives after the Turkish army ordered a strategic gathering of troops on the Turkish-Syria border.

Fearing an offensive in Syrian territory, the U.S.-backed Syrian Military Council has called upon the United States government to intervene and save a potentially lethal attack from occurring.

“The Turkish army started to remove the wall between Turkey and Northern Syria in the Tal-Abyad area. Turkey has amassed its forces and its jihadist proxies at that point. It clearly aims to invade Northern Syria,” the council wrote in a press release.

“Turkey aims to kill and destroy us and to finish the genocide against our people. {There} are still more than 100,000 Syriac Christians living in NE – Syria and they will be killed or driven away if Turkey invades.”

The group noted that there is currently “no U.S. military presence,” in the area where military forces are taking up position at this time, and warned this could be disastrous for the local Christian population.

“Anywhere these troops come inside northeast Syria will be tragic, like in Afrin,” Syriac Christian political leader Bassam Ishak told the Catholic News Service, noting that the intended attack zone is an “area where Kurds and Christians live.”


What is the background?

In January of last year, the Turkish government announced that it was commencing an offensive on the Christian-majority city of Afrin, starting with heavy shelling and culminating in an invasion. Syrian forces, including the Kurdish YPG and SDF, mounted a counter-strike, but Turkey still occupies the region.

There were huge numbers of Syrians killed as a result of the conflict, and thousands of Christians were forced from their homes.

Now, the Syriac Military Council is warning of another offensive on the Syrian Christian community that would likely be devastating.

“If Turkish forces come in, the expectation is that they will push out the inhabitants and turn the region over to extremist jihadist groups that they support, just like they did in Afrin a year ago,” Ishak added.

Currently, Turkey deems the Syrian Democratic Forces, which includes the Syriac Military Council, as being affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The Turkish government has long-maintained that the PKK is a terrorist organization operating under the guise of a political movement. 

Of course, the deep-rooted historical tensions are also at play. In 1915, the formidable Turkish Ottoman Empire forces committed a genocide against the Armenian Christians, claiming the lives of some 1.5 million people.

 “Syriac Christians and many of the Kurds who live in northeast Syria are the grandchildren and descendants of those who fled oppression and massacres in Turkey and fled to this area, considered the last safe zone from the Turks,” Bassam explained. “Turkey, in their minds, is the source of terrorism.”


Would be an ideological defeat for the west

In an interview with the Clarion Project, Aram Hanna, the commander of the Syriac Military Council, noted that if Turkey are allowed free reign to invade Syria, it will mark a significant loss for Western allies and democratic freedoms, and will risk allowing ISIS a significant opportunity for a resurgence. 

“Their towns and villages would indeed be literally in the first line of fire. Places like Derik and Qamishli are very close to or right against the border with Turkey,” Hanna said. “It would be a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood against freedom and the U.S., and thousands of ISIS members will escape.”

Remember, too, that the Kurdish forces allow women to fight, are proponents of freedom of religion, and support multi-ethnic governance. A heavy defeat for them would mean an enormous gain for the Islamist fanatics spurred on by Turkish President Erdogan.

So, as Turkish troops gather on the border — the Syriac Military Council’s message is clear — will the world stand by and watch the invasion unfold, or will capable western superpowers intervene and save lives? 

“We urge the Christians in the US to ask that the US Army that is present in North-East Syria will not allow the Turkish army and jihadists to invade North-East Syria,” the council implored. “Will the US Army stand by idly while we are killed?”

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