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ICC Note: A new report released by the Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights analyzes history’s impact on the current situation of Syrian Christians and details the crimes against Christians clerics since the start of the civil war. For eight years, the civil war has thrust the country into a time of great suffering. However, Christians were suffering even before the war and their hardships have only increased as the country descended into chaos.

06/22/2018 Syria (Assyrian Monitor) –  Syrian Christians have strong historical and cultural ties with Syria as confirmed by documents and historical and contemporary events. They view it as the homeland of their parents and ancestors, and they look forward to a future for themselves there, despite all the tragedies that have befallen them, and are befalling them, from dictatorial regimes as well as from the forces of extremism, which are two sides of the same coin.

History and events are witness to their great contribution to the building of Syria’s culture, which they have inherited and developed from generation to generation as the civilizations of Assyria, Babylon, and Aram. Syria (in the historically wider geographic sense) was the starting point for several Christian sects and Eastern churches and has been the home of many prophets, messengers, saints, and monks, who have gone forth to all parts of the world to spread the good news of Christianity, which holds a message of love and peace for all. There are also dozens of monasteries all over Syria, and hundreds of churches and holy sites that are important in Christian history and human civilization.

In the beginning of the 20th century, Syrian Christians constituted about 30 percent, nearly one third of the Syrian population. For most of the century, however, their numbers dropped. They emigrated for a variety of reasons, including political, economic, social, and religious, as well as a low birth rate compared to the majority of Islamic sects, so that today they number no more than half a million. By 2010, according to semiofficial statistics, Christians constituted a mere eight to ten percent of the total population of about 25 million people.

Christians played a significant role in building many of the cities, towns, and villages in Syria. They worked with many other communities, including the Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Turcoman, Circassians, Druze, Alawites, and the other components of Syrian society, to say nothing of their active role in drafting laws and constitutions and other public regulations.

Facts and data confirm their clear fingerprints on the creation of the economic renaissance experienced by the country since its establishment in agriculture, industry, and commerce. Christians still have a prominent share in the national experience, which has bestowed on them a national partnership in all stages in varying proportions. At times during the middle of the 20th  century they also participated in the founding of cities, towns, social associations, parties, and parliamentary and political life. We can refer to this period using the term “the golden age” of Syrian Christians, especially from the standpoint of politics. Many Christian personalities participated in the establishment of deeply rooted parties, such as the National Bloc and others. This was in addition to the role of the church, which at the time had three dimensions: national, spiritual, and social.

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For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]