28 August 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 02/25/2015, 00.00

    SYRIA

    IS abducts 150 Christians, rapes and kills women, a "tragic situation" for vicar to Aleppo



    A steady stream of horrific stories is coming out of jihadist-held areas. Terrorists hold hundreds of Christians, including seniors and children. For apostolic nuncio to Damascus, "Christians feel abandoned". There is "blood everywhere" and everyone is suffering. He believes that the war on terrorism is pointless but oil, "financial and military supplies" should be cut off.

    Damascus (AsiaNews) - Initial "reports mentioned 90 people abducted but for others the actual number is greater, perhaps 150. A church was destroyed, at least three Assyrian villages have been occupied and people have had to flee. We do not have accurate information, but the initial evidence points to a tragic situation," said Mgr Georges Abou Khazen, Latin apostolic vicar to Aleppo.

    The prelate spoke to AsiaNews about Monday's attack by the Islamic State group against Assyrian villages like Tel Tamar, Tel Shamiran, Tel Hermuz, Goran Tel and Tel Khareta, in north-eastern Syria. Jihadists reportedly raped a woman and then murdered her, but the information could not be confirmed.

    Whilst everyone is suffering, "Christians feel they have been abandoned," said Mgr Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Damascus.

    Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council, reports that latest figure for abducted Christians is at least 150, more than the early figure of 90. They were taken in Al-Hasakah Governorate, north-east of the country, where Assyrian Christian communities have lived for centuries.

    Some reports indicate that Islamic State militants killed some hostages. "Jihadists have taken a lot of people, including women, the elderly and children," said a local source, who requested anonymity for security reasons. "They burnt their houses, and torched a church." And "At least six" people were killed. The terrorists "also raped a woman before killing her."

    The Syriac Military Council, a Christian paramilitary organisation, said that the IS attack on Christian villages was an act of revenge following jihadist defeat in Kobane and other villages in the area, following the Peshmerga offensive and international coalition air strikes.

    The apostolic nuncio in Damascus agrees. "They came down from the mountains around 3 am Monday morning, and attacked an area largely inhabited by Assyrian-Nestorian," he told AsiaNews.

    This a "high risk area." Some "four or five months ago, I received a text message from the bishop of Hassakah, in which he warned that the danger of a jihadist invasion was high."

    After they were pushed out of Kobane, "they shifted to these villages to seize more land," Mgr Zenari explained. Now Christians feel abandoned, he added.  However, everyone has suffered. "I see blood everywhere, in the cities, in the neighbourhoods. The desert has changed colour. It is no longer golden yellow but blood red."

    The prelate said he hopes that "sooner or later reason will prevail" and "the war will end. It must end" even though at present, "we are still in the middle of winter, not some Arab Spring."

    Addressing directly the West and the international community, the apostolic vicar to Aleppo warned emphatically that "military action against the Islamic state is not the right way" to solve the crisis and restore peace and security to Syria and Iraq. "I never believed in war because it creates more hatred and division," he explained.

    "The West claims that it is fighting these groups," the prelate said. "Yet, it helps them too. Who is buying their oil? Who is selling them weapons? Who is involved in trafficking of priceless archaeological artefacts?"

    For Mgr Abou Khazen, there is a lot of "hypocrisy" in the fight against the terrorists. "This will not be solved with bombs; cutting financial and military supplies will. What we ask is for others to stop supporting these people, to stop selling them weapons. We have been saying this for some time but no one has been listening to us."

    The attacked Assyrian community, he said, has lived "in the area for thousands of years with its own ancient traditions and rites. Defenceless, its members have been uprooted. Campaigns are undertaken to save animals threatened by extinction to allow them to live in their habitat. But what is being done for us," he laments.

    Christians are gripped by a sense of fear, Mgr Georges noted. "Many want to run away and this is a very dangerous sign. Removing Christianity from these lands would be a tragedy for everyone. Maybe the aim is to create another Afghanistan, in the hands of new Taliban".

    "This is our reading of the situation," the prelate said. "They want to empty the Middle East of its Christians and create many small confessional states."

    "We Christians are the only ones spread across the territories of Syria and Iraq. We are the only ones who defend national unity and uphold the principle of pluralism . . . something that they increasingly want to destroy." (DS)

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    09/03/2015 SYRIA
    BREAKING NEWS: Not all Christian hostages in Syria freed, more families abducted


    07/08/2015 SYRIA
    More than 60 Christians among 230 Syrian civilians abducted by the Islamic State in al-Qaryatain
    After they seized the city, Jihadis detained hundreds of people, accusing them of collaborating with the Assad regime. People are not allowed to leave the city. IS militiamen detain entire families. Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate says contacts with locals are "very difficult". IS wants to use civilians as "human shields".

    23/02/2016 17:01:00 SYRIA
    Islamic State frees last group of Assyrian Christians of Hassaké

    Confirmation in an official note of Acero, the Assyrian association that oversaw the negotiations for the release. Freed, for a fee, also the last 43 community members. To date there are more hostages in the hands of jihadists. In recent months three people had been executed.



    19/07/2016 17:03:00 SYRIA
    Aleppo: Humanitarian tragedy unfolds as 200 thousand people risk starvation

    Food, bread and other basic necessities lacking for days. United Nations denounces block in aid distribution. The government's siege of the eastern part of the city could be a turning point in the Syrian conflict. In the northeast of the country a Syrian Orthodox Church on fire; behind the raid (maybe) Islamic State militiamen.



    11/04/2016 17:15:00 SYRIA
    Al-Qaryatayn: 21 Christians killed by Islamic State, others still in the hands of the jihadists

    The news first denounced by the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II. The killings date back to the time of the siege of the town and in the following weeks. Fr. Michel: "Ongoing negotiations to free the hostages, but the situation is confusing." Uncertainty over their fate. The militia reported to have tried to sell the Christian women as slaves.

     





    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    In China-Holy See talks, silence shrouds future of underground priests

    Zhao Nanxiong

    Later this year, all priests must register to receive a certificate that allows them to exercise their ministry. But the request has to go through the Patriotic Association, whose statutes are "incompatible" with Catholic doctrine. Many priests, official and unofficial, now face an enormous dilemma.


    IRAQ
    Alqosh, despite the Islamic State, the Church celebrates the first communion of one hundred children



    On the feast day of the Assumption the whole community attended the function, celebrated by Mar Sako. For the patriarchal vicar, this is an historic moment for the frontier town long threatened by jihadists. The Chaldean primate calls on children to "contribute to the community." In Kirkuk His Beatitude opened a grotto dedicated to Our Lady.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®