Christians in northeast Syria appeal for prayer for safety

20 August 2019
A person walks past graffiti in Homs, Syria, June 2018. Image: Ismael Martinez Sanches/Aid to the Church in Need.


Groups representing Christians in northeast Syria are appealing for prayer, fearful that Turkey plans to make good its numerous threats to invade the region with its military forces.

Since November 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to launch a large military operation east of the Euphrates River to “clear Kurdish terrorists” from the area. Syriac Christians view it as a pretext to enter more of Syria in a bid to change the northeast’s demographic of Kurds and Christians, just as Turkey did in Afrin, Syria, in March 2018.

The Christians’ appeal was issued by the Syriac National Council of Syria, the Syriac Union Party, and the American Syriac Union. It was made available to Catholic News Service on 15 August.

Turkey has “massed its army and allied jihadists along the border. Even though the US and French armies are present in northeast Syria, we know that Turkey will attack and destroy us,” the three Syriac Christian groups said. They are appealing to US leaders to intervene on their behalf to aid the 100,000 Christians in the region who they say are at risk.

They warned that Turkey and its jihadist allies, including fighters from al-Qaida and Islamic State, could carry out “a massacre just as they did in Afrin (northwest Syria) in 2018, when the churches of Afrin were burned and the Christians and Yazidis there were hunted down. In northeast Syria, it would be much worse and destroy many more people.”

“This is why we release an urgent call for prayer to all our brothers and sisters. We ask you to pray that the U.S. and France will make the decision to protect northeast Syria from a Turkish invasion,” the statement said.

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With thanks to The Tablet and Catholic News Service, where this article originally appeared.


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