ICC Note: Assyrian Christians are now facing another hurdle in returning to their homes as reports from the region are saying that Kurdish forces are now occupying the retaken villages from ISIS. Displaced Christians expected kurdish fighters to reestablish the previous occupants in their homes but they are instead, reportedly looting these houses and intimidating Christian villagers to the point of violence.
10/11/2016 Syria (Christian Times): Thousands of displaced Christians in Syria continue to be deprived of their homes and are still caught in the crossfire even as militants from the Islamic State (ISIS) continue to lose ground in the Middle East.
According to a report by World Watch Monitor, Assyrian Christians, specifically those in Tel Nasri, Tel Goran and other villages, still could not return to their homes despite the fact that ISIS forces have already left these areas. Local sources said this is because Kurdish militias now occupy these communities after they dislodged the ISIS militants.
The militiamen put up signs warning against danger and mines to make it appear that it is still unsafe for Assyrian Christians to return to their villages, but in reality, this is their way of occupying the communities, Assyria TV reported.
This came as a surprise for the Assyrian Christians who expected the Kurdish militias to stay only temporarily and to leave their villages once they have driven out the last of the ISIS militants.
Worse, the Kurdish militia forces are also reportedly intimidating and committing acts of violence against the Assyrian Christians, particularly in Hassake. There were also reports from local media in Syrian that Kurdish militiamen are “systematically” looting the villages previously controlled by ISIS militants.
On top of the problem brought about by Kurdish militia forces, Christians in Syria also have to constantly worry about the continuing threat posed by ISIS, which earlier occupied 35 villages in Syria.
The jihadist group is still holding captive some of the 200 Assyrians it took as hostages back in February last year.