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Christians, others warn Turkey is ‘weaponizing water’ in northeast Syria

Persecution of Christians in Syria: Clearly the Turkish government is using its military actions in Syria to further its longstanding persecution of Christians, which includes the ongoing discrimination against of and harassment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians of Turkey; the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora to mosques; the occupation and ethnic cleansing of northern Cyprus; the long imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Brunson and other Christian leaders; and much more.

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, once again appeals to the United Nations and all nations that are concerned about human rights to do all they can to protect the Christians of Syria and the Middle East in general, and to do all they can to bring an end to the unjust and illegal actions of the Turkish government.

For more ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Syria, see here.

“Christians, others warn Turkey is ‘weaponizing water’ in northeast Syria,” by Dale Gavlak, Catholic News Service, August 30, 2020:

AMMAN, Jordan — Parts of Syria’s north where Kurds, Christians and Yazidis have practiced religious freedom in recent years are reportedly again under attack by mainly Turkish military and their allied Syrian Islamist fighters.

The Syrian Democratic Council, which oversees the autonomous northeast of Syria, condemned Turkey’s cutting off the water supply to the area’s main city, Hassakeh, for nearly four straight weeks. Humanitarian groups have repeatedly accused Turkey of “weaponizing water” since its military takeover of the region in October 2019.

The council warned that Turkey is risking hundreds of thousands of lives in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and soaring temperatures.

One resident, who only provided his first name, George, said wells on the outskirts of the city required about 12 days to fill up the reservoir, and only then could water be distributed. The man said he had already lost several relatives to COVID-19.

Turkey and its Syrian militant allies cut off the vital supply of water from the Alok pumping station Aug. 13 for the eighth time since they invaded and took over the Ras al-Ain area in October, observers said. They added that the measure is choking the inhabitants of the region’s main city, Hassakeh, with the hope of trying to force its inhabitants into submission….

The Damascus-based head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch, demanded the international community stop Turkey’s flagrant actions.

“Using water as a weapon — which is not the first time — is a barbaric act and a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights. Yet, there has been no response from the international community to this atrocity, despite the constant appeal of the people of the region,” he wrote in an Aug. 21 letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

People in Afrin as well as in the autonomous northeast had the ability to choose their own faith and religious beliefs until militant Islamists working with the Turkish military invaded Afrin in January 2018.

Since then, Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities have been persecuted; Their homes, businesses and properties have been taken over by the troops, and many have been forced to flee. However, those who converted to Christianity face particular danger from the Islamists.

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