HDP calls for urgent action for Assyrian-Syriac people in Khabou

February 26

HDP Mardin MP Erol Doha held a conference in parliament calling for urgent action from international agencies and democratic powers against the recently intensified attacks of Daesh gangs on Assyrian/Syriac people in Kurdistan territory. The press conference was also attended by HDP deputies Aysel Tuğluk, İbrahim Ayhan, İbrahim Binici, Kemal Aktaş, Demir Çelik, Faysal Sarıyıldız.

Dora stated that the terrorist gangs of ISIS occupied a number of villages after launching a savage terrorist attack on the Assyrian-Syriac villages near the Khabour River in Heseke on 23 February morning. Dora said that in response, YPG and armed groups made up of Assyrian-Syriacs have been fighting together against ISIS in order to liberate the occupied villages.

HDP MP remarked that a total of 10 Syriac fighters and civilians have lost their lives while a number of houses and some churches have been burnt down as a result of the ISIS attacks on the villages of Tıl Hırmıs, Tıl Shamiram, Kabre Shamiye and Tıl Khebish in Til Tamır town, and clashes that followed.

“Around 35 Assyrian-Syriac villages in Khabour region have been evacuated almost completely. These villages near the Khabour River are housing Assyrian-Syriac people who managed to flee and survive the Assyrian-Syriac massacre in Hakkari region in 1915 and the Simele massacre committed by the Iraqi state in 1933,” he said.

Dora further reported that over 3,000 people from the evacuated villages, i.e. some 700 families, have taken shelter in Heseke and Qamishlo in recent days. He said this figure increased more and more every day with recent reports that the number of those migrating has reached 4,000.

Citing the figures by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, according to which 90 civilians were kidnapped by ISIS, Dora said that local sources on the other hand report over 350 people abducted by ISIS in the attacks going on for four days now.

HDP MP continued, stating that the terror attacks going on in both Syria and Iraq for years now have been targeting the defenseless Assyrian/Syriac/Chaldean people, as a result of which -he added- hundreds of people were massacred while hundreds of thousands were forcibly displaced from their lands. He reminded that tens of thousands of people from Assyrian/Syriac/Chaldean communities were forced to leave their territory after ISIS attacked firstly Mosul, then Sinjar and Nineveh regions last year. The historical churches and monasteries they left behind were taken under control by ISIS who destroyed almost all these and used the rest as a storehouse, he noted.

‘One and a half million population decreased to 350 thousand’

HDP Mardin deputy also recalled that the population of the Assyrian/Syriac/Chaldean people in Kurdistan decreased from one and a half million to 350 thousand because of the attacks they suffered following the fall of the Saddam Huseyin regime in Iraq in 2003. He continued: “While the 35 thousand population of the Assyrian/Syriac/Chaldean people in Mosul is guessed to have decreased down to 3 thousand within the last 10 years, this figure has almost been annihilated with the attacks of the ISIS. Similarly, numerous terror attacks have been carried out against Assyrian/Syriac/Chaldean people during the last four months of civil war in Syria. The attack on Khabour region is the most recent example of these attacks. While nearly two million Christian population had been living in Syria before the civil war, more than half of this population is guessed to have been forced to live the country today.”

Noting that the whereabouts of two senior Christian religious men, Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo Yuhanna İbrahim and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Pavlus Yazıcı who were abducted by terrorist groups in Syria still remained unknown, Dora pointed out that both Iraq and Syria and neighboring states, as well as United Nations, America and European Union countries have unfortunately remained insensitive to all these attacks targeting the Assyrian/Syriac/Chaldean people.

Call to international agencies and democratic powers:

HDP Mardin MP said that all democratic powers, the UN and coalition forces in the first place, must take urgent action against the threat of attack and massacre being faced today by Assyrian/Syriac/Chaldean people who have almost come to a point of extinction as a result of terror attacks in their homeland.

Dora also stressed that the most recent developments in the Middle East territory, in Iraq and Syria in particular, have proved once again that the practice of global human rights and principles of democracy, freedom and equality is the only way to make sure all the peoples and faith groups get over this tragic situation.