Assyrian Villages Caught Between SDF and Turkish Fighting

09/16/2021 Syria (International Christian Concern) –  The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has installed military artillery in the Assyrian village of Um Waghafa (Tal Tawil) in Al-Hasakah Governorate, nearby the village church, according to Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights. The Christian village is on the border of the fighting between the SDF and Turkish-backed militias, along with many others including the Christian town of Tel Tamer, where civilian infrastructures have been damaged, violating international agreements. “The Turkish shelling recently destroyed two schools, a municipal building, a bakery, and a power line in the area,” said one Christian militia spokesman.

These villages are now caught in the crosshairs, experiencing shellings as recent as September 1. Um Waghafa is one of 33 Assyrian villages along the Khabur River. These Assyrian villages suffer from the fighting, resulting in deteriorating security, economy, and living conditions. President of the Syriac National Council said, “a significant number of residents fleeing areas bombed by the Turkish military have settled in other Assyrian villages far from the Turkish bombing, which also increases uncertainty among local residents.”

Turkey considers the SDF a branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a terrorist group that Turkey has targeted well beyond its own borders. Since October 2019, Turkish-back militias have controlled parts of northeast Syria after a major campaign against the SDF. Christians in Syria have faced persecution of all kinds in recent years and now cannot escape the fighting and manipulation of their homelands.

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