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Syria: Christians terrified by fresh Turkish bombardments

Christians have all too often become the victims of Turkish military actions in Syria and Iraq. These actions displaced 2,000 Christian families and emptied 25 Christian villages in 2020. They are in keeping with Turkey’s contempt for Christians and Christianity, as well as for Turkey’s rich Orthodox Christian heritage. These forced evacuations stem from the same beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions that gave rise to the appropriation of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of the Holy Savior in Chora as mosques, the ongoing discrimination against of and harassment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians of Turkey; the occupation and ethnic cleansing of northern Cyprus; the numerous restrictions placed upon the activities and rights of Christian and other religious minority groups; and much more.

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

“Ain Issa Christians terrified by fresh Turkish bombardments,” by Karwan Faidhi Dri, Rudaw, August 6, 2021:

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Christian villagers in Syria’s northern town of Ain Issa had to flee their houses this week due to fresh Turkish bombardments that killed four members of a family, with a local security spokesperson telling Rudaw they are terrified after the attacks.

Turkish forces bombarded a Christian house in Safawiyah village, located near Ain Issa, in the early hours of Wednesday, killing Zidan Khalaf al-Issa and his three children: Ziyad, Muna and Huda, Aram Hanna, spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told Rudaw English.

“Two other civilians were injured and were moved to Raqqa Hospital to receive treatment,” he added. Rudaw has learned that Zidan’s wife was also injured.

Issa’s niece Fatima al-Issa told Rudaw that villagers left their homes after the bombing, but some have returned.

“The situation is not good but we are still here. Where can we go? Yesterday, we left and stayed away from our house but today we returned,” she said.

Other families are staying in nearby villages and waiting for the security to improve.

Daham al-Layis, head of emergency services at Raqqa Hospital, told Rudaw that the injured are in good condition now.

“We received them at 12pm but they were unconscious. We did some tests and found out that they have head injuries. They are in a good condition now,” he said.

Ain Issa is located on the M4 highway, the main route that crosses northern Syria. In this area in October 2019, Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies launched a military offensive against Kurdish forces. The operation ended the same month after ceasefires were brokered by Washington and Moscow.

The truces saw Turkey take control of a stretch of territory along the border and the SDF redeploy south of the M4 with Russian and Syrian regime troops acting as a buffer.

Nabil Warda, spokesperson for the Khabur Guards Council, a local Syriac force, told Rudaw that they were terrified by Turkish bombardment.

“All Syriac villages have been bombarded, areas where the displaced people live. Thirty bombs were thrown and all sorts of weapons were used against us,” he said, saying people had previously been displaced from Sari Kani (Ras al-Ain) in October 2019.

“We are terrified by the bombardment. Now, Turkey is bringing upon us what Daesh [Islamic State] brought upon us in 2015 . We are still suffering from the Turkish invasion.”…

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