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12/10/2020 Syria (International Christian Concern) – Reports of Turkish-backed militants in Northern Syria intensifying local attacks continue increasing, and these incidents continue running parallel to reports of Turkey returning Syrian mercenaries from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In the latest example, Turkish-backed militants have targeted the historically Assyrian Christian area of Tel Tamer.

Turkey’s support and movement of Syrian militants throughout the Eastern Hemisphere often correspond to an increase of religious freedom violations, usually targeting local Christians. Many of these Christians belong to the Assyrian and Armenian ethnic communities. These events often remind them of the 1915 genocide which nearly eliminated their presence from within the boundaries of modern Turkey.

The report Turkey: Challenges Facing Christians 2016-2020 states: “Turkey has an obligation under national and international law to uphold Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). The authorities must provide a legal framework to accommodate its religious minorities and develop a national narrative that promotes social cohesion. Given the new executive powers of Turkey’s president, the position holds the necessary authority to make needed changes to the legal framework which protects religious minorities. This obligation for religious freedom extends to those territories under Turkish military control.”

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