Christian Churches Caught in the Crossfire of Turkey’s Assault On Kurdish Forces in Syria

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen at a training camp in Azaz, Syria. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen at a training camp in Azaz, Syria. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Christian churches in Syria are crying out for help and assistance amid deadly attacks by Turkish forces on Kurdish areas of the civil war ravaged nation.

Churches in Afrin are calling on the international community not to ignore their plight as they face “great danger from Turkey and its jihadist alliance,” which began a military campaign in the Afrin region last week on grounds that Kurdish militias pose a “security” threat.

As clashes between Syrian Democratic Forces and Turkish-led forces that include allied militant factions have taken place throughout the region over the last several days, thousands of civilians have fled their homes and a number have been killed as a result of the conflict.

The violence is also impacting religious minorities in the region, such as Yazidis and Christians, who have experienced a level of religious freedom under the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria that advocates say is not enjoyed by religious minorities living in other parts of the Middle East.

“As the leaders of the Christian churches in North Syria, in the town of Afrin we hereby confirm that we are under attack by Turkey,” an open letter from Pastor Hakim Ali Ismael, senior pastor of a network of churches in Afrin and Kobane, to international leaders reads. “The lives of our women and children are in danger. The city of Afrin is being bombarded by Turkish airstrikes. We are asking for intervention, and protection against the violent attacks which are being levied against use at the moment.”

“Many lives are in mortal danger,” the letter, which was shared with The Christian Post, reads. “We are requesting aid and assistance. We are unable to protect ourselves or our families against these attacks, neither are we able to offer assistance or shelter the innocents.”

According to the letter, there are more than 200 Christian families that live in the Afrin area.

Afrin is an isolated part of the Syrian federation that borders areas controlled by Islamist rebels and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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SOURCE: Samuel Smith 
Christian Post