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07/25/2022 Syria (International Christian Concern) – In northeastern Syria, Christians are increasingly becoming the victims of illegal property confiscations and expropriations. The Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO), which works on behalf of the Christian Assyrian, Syrian, and Chaldean populations in the area, has served as a major source of reporting on the escalation of these crimes against Christians. Christians who have emigrated from Syria in recent years amidst the chaos of ongoing armed conflict are particularly vulnerable to these fraudulent property seizures because they are not as easily aware of fraud attempts and are not well positioned to fight against them. One particular case of attempted property seizure against a Christian family in Syria was highlighted, but according to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), legal cases relating to the seizure or illicit sale of Christian properties have been registered in several urban centers: Qamishli, Hassakè, Derek, and Tal Tamr. These areas are all under the control of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), also known as “Rojava.”

AINA and ADO sources report that members of the AANES have used their influence in many cases to facilitate these property crimes against Christians. According to the ADO, the Bashar al-Assad government and influential officials in the AANES are similarly utilizing forged documentation to claim ownership over many Assyrian Christian properties. Christians throughout northeastern Syria are vulnerable to illegal property seizures because many have emigrated to escape the armed conflict. According to ADO, roughly 20,000 of the formerly 22,000 Syriac Assyrians in the country have emigrated. Some mechanisms, such as a Committee for the Protection of Syriac, Assyrian, and Armenian Absentee Properties in the AANES, seek to protect Christian property in Syria, but these mechanisms are too weak and have simply proven ineffective at stopping the recent rise in illegal property confiscations and expropriations.

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