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USCIRF Chair Condemns Turkish Airstrike in Northern Syria During Visit

01/12/2022 Syria (International Christian Concern) – This week, Nadine Maenza, chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), condemned a Turkish drone strike targeting civilians in Kobani, a village located in northeastern Syria. Chair Maenza travelled to Syria this week to attend the first ever “Conference of Religions and Beliefs in Mesopotamia,” aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue in the war-torn region.

On Sunday, Chair Maenza tweeted a video of herself condemning Turkey’s continued military activity that she says is destabilizing the region. “Turkey says that they’re targeting terrorists, but clearly that’s not the case,” stated Chair Maenza in the video.

The strike on Kobani occurred just hours after Maenza had arrived in the region. The attack killed one villager and injured 11, including a four-year-old boy who lost his leg. Maenza has a known record condemning these attacks even before she was named USCIRF chair and has called out Turkey for its aggressions in the region, urging the U.S. and the global coalition to do the same.

Turkey commonly attacks Christian villages in northern Iraq and Syria, justifying it as a counter-terrorism campaign against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). However, the strikes often target civilian populations and disproportionately affect Christian villages throughout the region, in a pattern that is becoming all to familiar for the Christian population there.

Many human rights activists hope that other U.S. government officials will join Chair Maenza in her condemnation of Turkey and the country’s increasingly aggressive military activity in Syria and Iraq.

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